Trademarks Protect Your Ideas

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A trademark is denoted by the trademark symbol TM or by the federal registration symbol if an actual registration filing has been approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Whereas patents and copyrights are basically used to protect the commercial rights of inventors and creators of artistic or literary works, respectively, the basic concept behind a trademark or service mark is to prevent unfair competition. Trademark law protects you, the owner, from competitors stealing your identity or using a name or symbol so similar that it could cause confusion for your clients or customers. By identifying a product or service’s source, a trademark or service mark also serves to protect consumers from deception. Once you’ve got a trademark, you need to protect it by using it. Remember to pay your renewal fees to the United States Patent and Trademark Office every 5 or 10 years as required. Also, be sure to display the sign of your trademark on your products and materials.

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