Last Published: 7/7/2016

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 contact the Trademark Assistance Center. If you have questions regarding foreign trademarks, please call 1(866) 999-HALT.