How Do I Trademark Service Names?

What are the specifics for trademarking the name of a service?

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Very similarly to product names—and you may want to watch the video about product names—there was this differentiation between trademarks that would cover product names and service marks that would cover services. Right now, the term ‘trademark’ covers both product names and service names, products and services.

So when you want to trademark your service name, or the name of your service, ideally you don’t want to add the type of your service into the name that is being trademarked.

So let’s say, you offer accounting services, and let’s say, your name is “123 Accounting”. So ideally, you would want to trademark “123” by itself, without adding the word ‘Accounting’ to it.

The only two times you would add ‘Accounting’ to the name would be, firstly, if you can’t reasonably get “123” by itself. So if there is something very similar but not quite, for example, “123 Audit Services.” At that point, you may want to try “123 Accounting” just to make sure that your trademark goes through.

The second reason to file with the word “Accounting” is after you’ve filed the “123” by itself. You may want to build a family of marks. That’s what apple did with iTunes. First, they filed the trademark “iTunes”by itself, and then they added “iTunes Music”, “iTunes This”, “iTunes That”. That allows you to protect both the combination of the name with the description and the name by itself.

So, ideally, get them both, so “123” and “123 Accounting”. If you have budget limitations, which most business owners do—I’ve yet to meet a business that does not have budget restraints, that has an unlimited budget—if you do have a limited budget, maybe you want to do “123” and then “123 Accounting.”

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