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Trademarks and service marks are important for your business

When you have a business that sells goods or provides services, you might think of a catchy phrase that embodies the message you are trying to send to your customers. This catchy phrase, product name or similar item might be something that you don't want anyone to steal.

You can often protect your special wording or symbol as a trademark. In the case of a product, you would be able to use the "TM" symbol that is known for this. If you have a service, the symbol would be an "SM" symbol because you have a service mark.

It is important to remember that a trademark or service mark doesn't stop people from being able to use your idea for the product or service. Instead, it only has to do with the specific symbol or wording that you had trademarked.

You don't have to trademark the applicable items that you use in the course of your business; however, opting to register the trademarks does have its advantages. This gives you the legal presumption that you have the primary right to use the trademarked items. Without doing this, claims regarding the item in question might end up being he-said-she-said events that cause a lot of grief.

Ultimately, if you have any questions or concerns about the process, you should seek out answers so that you know what you need to do. This is very important so that you can make sure that you have your business' interests protected every step of the way. It also helps to ensure that you aren't giving your competitors free handouts of ideas.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is a Trademark?," accessed May 18, 2017

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