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Difference Between Trademark and Service Mark

Updated on :  

08 min read.

Many businesses have a unique identification mark, brand or logo that makes their business stand out for advertising and general business purposes. This identification mark are known as a trademark or a service mark. 

A trademark and service mark are kinds of intellectual property. They assert the proprietor’s ownership on the logos, marks or slogans and determine the source of origin of the thing they are associated with. They also protect the proprietors as they restrict others to use them in an unauthorised manner.

Trademark

A trademark is a brand or logo containing words, numbers, devices, symbols or a combination of words, numbers, devices and symbols. They help identify and distinguish a commercial product from the other products or goods available in the market.

A trademark helps build the business’s image and protect them from unauthorised use by third parties. Thus, third parties cannot copy a registered trademark that has demand in the market for their own goods or products. Some examples of a trademark are – Nike, Bata, Pepsico, etc.

Service Mark

A service mark is similar to a trademark, but a service mark is used to distinguish the services of one company from another provider. It can be associated only with services and not goods or products. It is often slogans for a service provided by a company. 

For example, a plumber can register a service mark ‘Leak Fixers’ for the plumbing service he provides, with or without a distinctive logo. When the service mark is registered, others cannot use the same service mark for their services. Some well-known service mark are – American Express, United Airlines, Facebook, etc.

Similarity Between Trademark and Service Mark

The main intention of both the trademark and service mark is the same. They both work to identify and protect the product or service of an individual or business in the market. They help to make the product or service they are associated with unique from other products or services offered by the competitors available in the market.

Both registered trademark and service mark are used as intellectual property, and other persons will not be able to use these without the permission of their owners. The trademark or service mark associated with a product or service, respectively, must be unique for it to be registered.

The trademark and service mark has the same registration procedure. A service mark is not separately defined under the Trademarks Act, 1999 (‘Act’). Thus in India, a trademark is granted to both goods and services under the Act. A service mark used by service providers is covered under the trademark classes for services provided under the Act and are granted trademark registration.

Trademark and Service Mark Differences

Trademark Service Mark
A trademark can be used for anything unique in the market. A service mark can be used only for the services provided.
A trademark indicates the source of a product produced or sold by a company.A service mark indicates the source of origin of a specific service offered by a service providing company or institution.
The symbol ‘TM’ is used with a trademark when a trademark registration application for products is submitted.  The symbol ‘SM’ is used with a service mark when a trademark application for services is submitted.
The trademark registration application is submitted for a product categorised under the trademark classes of 1 to 34 of the Act.The trademark registration application is submitted for a service categorised under the trademark classes of 35 to 42 of the Act.
A trademark is associated with commodities or goods such as bread, mobile apps, hammers, etc.A service mark is associated with services offered such as coaching, gardening, legal services, etc.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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