Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 2

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 August 2023 02:56 Written by Chris Griswold Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:37

First, what is the purpose of, and what are, service marks (SM)? 

ANSWER:  They are a legal creation which identify the services provided by a person or entity in their course of business.

Second, what is the purpose of, and what are, trademarks (TM)?

ANSWER:  They are a legal creation which identifies the creation of something.  This “something” can include, but isn’t limited to, any sort of product, idea, mathematical formula, recipe, thought, song, movie, film, name, technology, algorithm, derivative, sound, noise, packaging and/or symbol, brand or logo. None of these things are mutually exclusive either.  So, any combination of the above can be trademarked and then constitute a single TM.

Third, can something that is a TM also be part of a SM, and vice versa?

ANSWER:  Yes.  A SM can include certain elements that are TM, like a logo or branded name or symbol.  For example, a taxi cab company, which provides services to the public, can have a SM of its name, “Friendly Taxi,” which includes its logo of a uniquely shaped, small, red and yellow taxi cab with green little tires – which the company trademarked as its brand and logo and then put on its website, internet service app, t-shirts, mugs and online directory with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Chamber of Commerce – as their readily identifiable brand and logo.

Fourth, what’s the big picture of SM’s and TM’s?

ANSWER:  Remember, that both SM and TM, while different, are both forms of intellectual property.  Accordingly, each type of legal creation can be owned by some person or entity to the exclusion of other persons and entities once a legal process has been completed. 

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Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 1

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 August 2023 02:56 Written by Chris Griswold Friday, 16 July 2021 12:08

My clients do a lot more than just real estate; more than just borrow money to acquire businesses, assets or capital; more than just form partnerships and entities, and do more than just estate planning.  They start up tech firms, service businesses and website development companies and ask me to help with their intellectual property and/or licensing issues and concerns.  Read more below.

Raising Your Intellectual Property IQ – Part 1

First, what is the purpose of service marks (SM) and trademarks (TM)? 

ANSWER:  It’s to properly give credit to the person or entity that created or provided the product or service.

Second, what is the difference between a SM and a TM? 

ANSWER:  You’ve probably heard these commonly referred to or used together, which can be confusing.

A SM refers and relates to a business that provides a service, like a window washing company or a trucking company.  Services (like of a doctor or a consultant) and physical acts (of hauling freight, like a trucking company or a landscaping company) are both the proper object of a SM, and the rights to them should be reserved with a SM.

Contrastingly, a TM refers to a product or a good that has been produced, and the TM seeks to preserve the producer’s rights to the intellectual property attached to such product or good.  The product or good can be both tangible and intangible.

Remember, that both services (SM) and products and goods (TM), while different, are both forms of intellectual property.

Third, what are some working examples of the differences between SM and TM?

ANSWER:  For example, the rights to a song or a movie (which are both products and goods) is intellectual property which should be trademarked – eventhough they’re both intangible.  Graphic art, computer programs (and their code) are also intangible things whose intellectual property rights can be reserved with a TM.

However, a computer engineer (that would help a client to develop these computer programs, and their code, as an independent contractor) is providing intellectual property in the form of a service, so, as a service provider, the computer engineering company would SM its services provided to such client.

In contrast, a book (whether a physical book or an e-book) is intellectual property (not a service) whose author would protect with a TM.

Fourth, can SM and TM both be used together?

ANSWER:  Yes.  Often, the same business will, respectively, use both SM and TM protections on its services (SM) and goods and products (TM) – since one business can offer both classes of intellectual property.

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