What is a trademark?


A trademark protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed as long as they are being used in commerce.

Registration of a trademark is not required in the U.S., although there are benefits to obtaining a Federal trademark registration through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademarks are territorial; unlike the United States, most countries require registration of trademark rights.

For general trademark information, please telephone the Trademark Assistance Center, at 1(800)786-9199, or e-mail your question to TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov. If you have questions regarding foreign trademarks, please call 1(866) 999-HALT.