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Should I register a trademark or a service mark in California?

There are many reasons why one might want to register a trademark or service mark in the state of California. Whether beginning a new business venture, expanding existing services or venturing into new service sectors, or possibly introducing a new product or product line to the market, many individuals and organizations seek to register trademarks and service marks in California each year.

Before determining whether a trademark or a service will suit your particular needs, it important to know the difference between the two. A trademark can be any word, symbol, device, name, or combination of these things which a person uses to identify one’s goods and indicate the goods’ source, and to distinguish those goods from others in the marketplace.

Similarly, a service mark can be any word, symbol, device, name, or combination of these that a person uses to identify one’s services and the source of those services from others in a given marketplace. While this may seem like a small distinction, it is a legally important one.

Often an individual will find that he or she needs to register both a trademark and a service mark to suit one’s particular needs. It is important to note that the state of California does not allow these registrations to be filed on a single form, and requires these to be registered separately.

Registering a trademark or service mark is an important step in launching or expanding any business or enterprise, with many complicated intricacies at both the state and federal level. Consulting qualified legal counsel can simplify the process and help avoid pitfalls and setbacks common to those seeking to obtain trademarks and service marks in today’s crowded marketplace.

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