Trademark vs. service mark? What’s the difference? Both are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to distinguish a brand’s products and services from those of other businesses. Trademarks distinguish a company’s products, whereas a service mark relates to the services a company provides. Both fall under the category of intellectual property.
Why Apply for a Trademark or Service Mark?
When you’re building a brand, it’s important to differentiate yourself from your competition. Moreover, the last thing you want is for another company to hijack your company name or logo and confuse customers about with whom they’re doing business.
Registering for a trademark or service mark helps prevent that from happening.
The Difference: Trademarks vs. Service Marks
Preventing confusion in the marketplace is the primary purpose of both trademarks and service marks. To obtain either, you must apply with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design (such as a business name or logo) that identifies the source of a product. Trademarks are often recognized as brand names, and they protect the owners of their marks from other businesses in the U.S. using those marks.
Some companies trademark multiple elements of their brand, such as their business names, logos, and slogans. For example, Nike has trademarks on its brand name, its swoosh logo, and its tagline, “Just Do It.”
What is a Service Mark?
Service marks are similar to trademarks, and sometimes you’ll hear people use the term “trademark” when they really mean “service mark.” A service mark distinguishes the services of one company from those of another service provider.
Several examples of well-known service marks include:
- American Airlines
- Holiday Inn
Often, service marks take the form of a slogan or tagline, such as the United Airlines’ phrase “Fly the Friendly Skies.”
Whether a company needs a trademark or service mark can get confusing. For example with Burger King, the company provides a service, but it sells products (like the Whopper). Therefore, many companies register for both trademarks and service marks to protect their brand assets.
What Are the Benefits of Registering for a Trademark or Service Mark?
Filing trademarks and service marks prevent other businesses from using a business’s company, product, and service names; brand slogans; logos; and other distinguishing brand designs.
Relative to a company’s business name, a trademark or service mark offers more extensive protection than only registering the name with the state. While an LLC or corporation receives some protection of its brand name in the state in which it is registered, a trademark or service mark offers protection across all 50 of the United States. With a trademark or service mark, a business gains peace of mind that others won’t copy their branding at both the state and federal level.
How To Apply for a Trademark or Service Mark
The process to register for a trademark or service mark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office isn’t complicated, but it’s important to complete the application accurately so that it’s not rejected.
Before applying for a trademark or service mark, it’s wise to do some research to make sure another business hasn’t filed for (or is already under) trademark or service mark protection using the same or a very similar mark.
CorpNet’s free basic trademark search tool can help with that, and from there, I suggest doing a comprehensive name search at the state and county level to make sure your desired mark is not already taken.
I also encourage you to enlist the help and expertise of an intellectual property attorney that can offer legal advice as you go through the process.
“TM” and “SM” and ®
Before a company has had its trademark or service mark approved by the USPTO, it can use the designations of either “TM” or “SM” after the name, phrase, or design it wants to protect.
TM and SM show that the company is claiming the wording or symbol as its own, and it can help deter other businesses from using that intellectual property while the USPTO reviews a trademark or service mark request. The ® symbol designates a trademark or service mark that has been registered with and approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The ® symbol identifies a company has an official legal protection of its mark.
When to Apply for a Trademark or Service Mark
A company can take action to help protect its business name, even if it hasn’t yet started selling its products or services.
By filing an “intent to use” (Allegation of Use) form with the USPTO, a company can reserve a trademark or service mark.
An advantage of filing the intent to use application is that it regards the filing date as the “constructive use” date for establishing the business’s rights to the mark. So, if a company files an intent to use application on August 20, and another company files an actual use application on August 24. Even if the first company doesn’t file for actual use and begin to use its mark in commerce until after August 24, that company would be granted the trademark or service mark protection.
The USPTO gives companies six months to file an actual use application after they submit an intent to use application. It also allows six-month extensions to be filed up to 5 times after an initial intent to use application is submitted.
Cost of Registering a Trademark or Service Mark
The cost varies—between $225 and $400 per class to apply for a trademark or service mark—depending on how a business opts to apply for its trademark or service mark. The USPTO offers three initial application options.
If you choose to have an attorney or other party prepare and submit your application for you, you’ll incur some additional expense, as well.
After receiving an application, the USPTO sends a receipt to confirm the filing date. It might take from nine to 12 months for the USPTO to process a trademark or service mark request. When marks are complicated or if issues or conflicts arise during the review process, the USPTO might require more time before approving or rejecting a request.
Length of Time a Trademark or Service Mark Protection Lasts
Once approved, a trademark or service mark is in effect for ten years—and it can then be renewed for another ten years, with no limit on subsequent ten-year terms. As long as all renewal requirements are fulfilled, a business’s trademark or service mark will have an unlimited lifespan.
Everybody knows that physical exercise is an important part of being healthy. However, if you want to stay healthy, it’s not enough to just exercise and eat healthier – you have to take care of your mind as well. Your mind can affect your body just as much as your body can affect your mind. Therefore, here are a couple of things you should know about the holistic approach and how it can benefit your lifestyle.
It can help you de-stress
In this day and age, avoiding stress can be quite a difficult challenge. This is why you should have ways of coping with it whenever it starts affecting your well-being. Exercising, in general, can be great for that purpose, but you don’t need to run five miles every morning in order to relax. A peaceful meditation can do the trick as well. Depending on how much free time you have, you can do it in the morning, before bed, or just a few times per week when needed.
As one of the most common holistic exercises, meditation does have many benefits. Besides helping you deal with stress, it can also make you feel better by calming your mind. Consequently, you will become more patient, emotionally stable, mindful, more energized, and more confident about yourself in general.
It can change the way you think
Many of us tend to impose stress on ourselves by worrying about things we cannot change, criticizing our own appearance, feeling guilty about what we eat, etc. Most of us know that it is unhealthy, but not many people know that our thoughts can affect our body. So, what can you do about it?
For starters, you need to recognize situations that make you anxious or stressed out. Once you know what it is that triggers your negative emotions, you should look for coping mechanisms. For example, you can try to shift your focus to positive things or write down the good sides of everything that might seem bad at first. By improving your perception of the world – and yourself – you can improve your health as well.
It can make you fall in love with exercising
Once you start seeing the results on your body, it’ll be much harder for you to go back to the unhealthy lifestyle. Your metabolism will improve, your immunity will be stronger, you will have more stamina, etc. Moreover, improving your physical appearance can help you improve your self-image as well. The truth is, we all feel better when we look good, so it’s an endless positive circle of feeling good and looking good.
This is when you also might start looking for different environments and ways to practice mindful exercising. One of the best places to do so is, unsurprisingly, in nature. So, get your camping gear, and spend a few days meditating near a calming waterfall or doing yoga while surrounded by greenery and sounds of nature.
It can motivate you to eat healthily
You’ve probably heard of the famous quote that you are what you eat, and this is very true. The holistic approach is not just about exercising – it’s about health in general as well. After all, you can exercise all day if you want, but the results won’t be as obvious if you don’t adjust your diet as well. So, enrich your diet with healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish. There are also many healthy snacks that can replace your usual chips and chocolate, like nuts, popcorn, and berries. This also implies that you should learn how to prepare healthier meals and not rely on takeout. This way, you will have more energy, and you will feel good about yourself knowing that you’re providing your body with what it needs.
That being said, you shouldn’t feel guilty about satisfying your cravings from time to time. So, don’t hesitate to enjoy some hot pizza when you go out with your friends. Also, if you’re organizing a movie night with your loved one, feel free to buy some less healthy snacks. The thing is, as long as you keep working out and eating healthy most of the time, there is nothing wrong in indulging in some delicious, a bit less healthy food choices that make you feel good.
There are many ways in which a holistic approach can improve your life, from helping you deal with stress to making you enjoy every meal. So, make sure to give it a try, and have no doubt that the results will show sooner than you might think.
Is there so much on your plate that you feel you don’t have time to take care of yourself – and hence would feel guilty if you took the time?
It’s a common problem – one I hear from my clients often. And it arises from a bunch of interconnected beliefs that are difficult to separate and deal with. Beliefs that limit your ability to take care of yourself even though you want to do so (and believe you should be able to).
Why You Feel Guilty About Self-Care
Conventional wisdom says that acknowledging the necessity of self-care will help you get over the guilt. But that’s not enough. I’m guessing you understand the necessity of self-care – but it’s not doing much about the guilt you feel.
Self-care guilt arises from many different – yet interrelated – factors. And to shake it, you must identify and deal with each one. Today I want to focus on 5 common reasons why you feel guilty about prioritizing self-care and what to do about them.
Reason #1: You don’t understand what self-care is.
Self-care isn’t about doing something to make you feel good, to escape, or to indulge. Yet that’s what most people think that it is. And it’s also not about putting a bunch of to-dos on your list. In fact, it’s often about taking things away from your to-do list.
Self-care is simply about taking care of yourself physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually so that you don’t feel a need to escape your life. The point of self-care is to take care of your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
What’s selfish about that? Here’s your answer: nothing.
Self-care isn’t about adding a bunch of stuff to your to-do list. It’s primarily about your mindset, what you believe about yourself, and how you live your life.
And all this worry about being selfish? If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll become needy. And needy people are always selfish. So, by NOT prioritizing self-care you’re actually being selfish. How about that for a big “aha” moment?
Reason #2: You believe that prioritizing something means you must do it at the expense of something else.
There’s a common belief that prioritizing something means that something else won’t get done. That it comes at a cost. But that’s not necessarily true. And it’s especially not true when it comes to self-care.
Here’s the equation most of us work from:
To-Do List Obligations = Work Obligations + Family Obligations + Chores + Friends + [Other Obligations]
There’s no room for self-care because we believe that adding it means taking something away from the equation. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll have more stress and less energy. And your ability to get stuff done decreases. You won’t do a good job – and you might even drop the ball entirely.
So, self-care is necessary if you want to do all the things in the equation above. And it’s especially necessary if you want to do them well.
Here’s the thing: self-care isn’t even a part of the equation above. It comes into play before the equation ever comes into the picture.
Reason #3: Your self-worth is determined by your external achievements and how productive you are.
Is your self-worth determined primarily from what you achieve – and even how productive you are? Is it determined by your outcome? The problem with this is a lack of control. Although you have control over your input, you don’t have control over much of what affects the outcome.
Wouldn’t you rather base your self-worth on how you live your life – how you behave and treat others and whether you honor your deepest values? These are things that you do have control over – and it’s ultimately what will make you happy.
For help with how to clarify and honor your values, grab my Inner Compass Values Assessment workbook here:
For obvious reasons, self-care is a necessary component to your self-worth. You’re more likely to treat others well and have clarity around (plus be able to live) your values when you’re taking care of yourself.
But there’s more to it than that.
Self-care is about self-respect. If you respect yourself then you’ll take care of yourself.
And there’s no shame in asking for help. People are here for a reason – to connect with and care for others. This isn’t a one-way street. You too are meant to be cared for. So, let other people care for you by asking for help from time to time.
Reason #4: You don’t say “no” even when you want to.
This one is a biggie for the majority of my clients. They feel “obligated” to say yes – especially if being asked to use a skill or talent that they’re good at. Please don’t let others use your talents and skills against you (it’s not a requirement that you do everything you’d be good at).
Learn to say “no”. I know this is hard – I coach on it often. But start rethinking what it means to say no so that you can create strong boundaries for yourself. Because when you set and uphold strong boundaries you’re respecting yourself.
Saying “no” is really saying “yes” to yourself and those you love most. When you say “yes” to things you know you shouldn’t (and really don’t want to be doing), it’s limiting the amount of time you have to do the things you love – including serving those you love most.
One reason it’s so difficult to say “no” is because you’ve been convinced that you’re supposed to do “it all”. I’ve talked about this before: not only is doing “it all” impossible, you don’t even want it. Go back and read (or re-read the article) if you need to. It’s the biggest “should” of all time. And it’s time to drop it.
Reason #5: You treat your time as though it’s not yours.
News flash: your time is yours. No one else owns it. Act like it.
This is so simple – and obvious – yet often not fully appreciated. Stop giving your time away as though it’s endless. Because it isn’t. You won’t ever get it back once spent.
People spend a lot of time focusing on time-wasting (especially through social media). And rightly so. But just as important is how you waste your time by giving it up freely to others when you could be doing something much better for yourself.
Use your time wisely, guard it, and treat it as the precious commodity it truly is.
Practicing Self-Care is the Best Way to Honor Yourself
The best way to love and honor yourself (and treat yourself as the worthy human that you are) is to practice self-care. When you learn to prioritize it, it’ll become natural to you and a part of who you are. And you’ll be happier, healthier, and feel more you – without the guilt.
Each spring, come tax time, we have the opportunity to take stock of how much we’ve made, how much we’ve spent, and overall, how we’re doing with our money. If, as the saying goes, “Money talks,” – what is its message to you after this year’s tax season has come and gone and tax returns have been signed sealed and delivered?
Maybe money is urging you to start an emergency fund; invest more in your 401K; cut back on take-out; or do a much-needed kitchen remodel. Or maybe money has a far more profound question for you…how does your relationship with money reflect the way you value and care for yourself?
In her book, Women & Money: The Power To Control Your Destiny, financial guru, Suze Ormansays paying attention to money is a critical part of our self-care. “We have to develop a healthy, honest relationship with our money,” Orman explains. “How we behave toward our money – how we treat it – speaks volumes about how we treat and value ourselves.” Orman also notes that money is an important part of self-empowerment. “If we aren’t powerful with money, we aren’t powerful period,” Orman says.
So how do you care for yourself by caring for your money? Do you have a “healthy honest” relationship with money? Do you feel empowered when it comes to your finances?
For many women, a “healthy, honest” relationship with money is still a work in progress. The Financial Behaviors & Experience Among Women Study, conducted by Prudential in 2014, found that the women surveyed had not been actively seeking to expand their financial literacy. The study’s findings highlighted the fact that women felt they were no more comfortable or informed making big financial decisions than they had been a decade earlier.
Amanda Steinberg, author of Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms and founder of Daily Worth, says that gender roles can play a part. “As women, many of us were raised to believe that finances should be a man’s job,” Steinberg notes. “Men approach finances as if it should be their responsibility, while women hesitate because we’re not so sure it’s a good thing to get involved.” Steinberg identifies the biggest hurdles standing between women and financial confidence as guilt and shame, and Camille Gaines, of the website Financial Woman, agrees. “Guilt and shame play out as avoiding our money, underutilizing our skills, and giving away our power around money to the men in our lives,” Gaines says. “The first step to confidence is knowledge.”
Lack of knowledge plus anxiety around money can keep women stuck and often embarrassed about reaching out for financial advice. It’s been humorously bandied about that women would rather discuss their weight or sex lives than talk about money, and the findings in the Money FIT Women’s Study bear that out. The study, published by Fidelity Investments in February 2015, found that eight in 10 women avoid conversations about money because the subject is “too personal” and they feel “uncomfortable” when the subject is broached. The majority of women in the study felt that money was a “taboo” subject – which makes sense, since so many of us were taught that it was “gauche”/ “not proper etiquette” to talk about money as we were growing up.
It may seem daunting to start wading into what seems like an ocean of financial do’s and don’ts, but Amanda Steinberg suggests starting small. “Money can get a bad rap, so start reflecting on how you think about and language money,” Steinberg says. “Maybe there’s a belief that ‘money is evil’, or that there’s ‘never enough’. Think about your opinions about money, and ask yourself, ‘Are these beliefs serving me, or should I reconsider them?’”
Our beliefs about money, often planted at an early age, can have a profound effect on how we view and handle money in our adult lives. In next week’s post we’ll continue the ‘Money Conversation’ with tips for excavating down to the heart of your beliefs about money and abundance.