A trademark and a service mark are both used for commerce. Both help the consumer identity the source of the goods or services that they are using. Furthermore, both of them are part of intellectual property. So, how can you differentiate between a service mark and a trademark?
The difference between a service mark and a trademark lies in what they represent. A trademark can either be a word, a phrase, a device or a logo that represents the source of goods. A service mark can also either be a word, a phrase, a device or a logo, but it represents the source of “service”. So, the basic difference is, trademark is a mark of goods and a service mark is a mark for service.
The difference in their symbols
When a trademark has been applied for trademark registration, the symbol that the applicant can use along with the trademark is “TM“.
Suppose you have applied for trademark registration of trademark “Kalhoun” and the trade you are applying it for is selling sports goods. Once the application is accepted, you can use the TM symbol beside it as KalhounTM.
When a service mark has been applied for trademark registration or service mark registration (trademark is a mark that represents your trade, and the trade can either be providing goods or providing services), then once its application is accepted, the applicant is allowed to use the symbol SM with the service mark.
Suppose you have applied for trademark registration for service mark “Protektor”, and the service you are applying it for is providing security services. Once the application is accepted, you can use the SM symbol beside it as ProtektorSM.
The difference in their uses
For trademark, the symbol TM along with the mark is used in commerce when it is placed on the good’s containers or the goods themselves.
For service mark, the symbol SM is used in commerce when you are advertising your services, or your card where to inform about your services.
Trademark and service mark are actually the same, but protect different entities
Trademark and service both establish a distinguished identity of a trade. Both of them can be registered through the trademark registration process, and both of them protect the identity of particular trades. While you know the difference between the two, know that there are one and the same and both of them hold equal value. Therefore, whether you are providing a service or providing goods, protect your identity and you can provide them under your own mark.