Trademark Concerns of Small Businesses

The idea of marking an item for ownership can be traced back in history to the finding of marks on pottery created many thousands of years ago. The economic use of such marks shows up in 500 B.C. during the Roman Empire.

Today, according to the U.S. Patent Office, a trademark is defined, as "a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others."

Service marks are the same as trademarks, except they refer to the source of a service and not a product. The term "marks" is typically used to define the proper usage of both.

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