A trademark is the registration of a word, name, symbol, device or any combination of those, adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify goods and distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others or by another person on goods produced by his or her labor.
Trademarks vs. Servicemarks
Although the term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks, the two marks serve different purposes. A trademark is used to identify goods made or sold. A service mark is used to identify services rendered. Vermont does not register service marks. Under Vermont law,(9 V.S.A. Ch. 71) a trademark cannot be used for services. The proprietary name of a rendered service may be protected by registering the name as a trade name (DBA).
State vs. Federal Trademarks
Trademarks can be registered at both the state and federal level. The federal trademark law may preempt Vermont’s own law on trademarks in many cases; nevertheless, many legal experts believe that state registration of trademarks will serve to establish the date on which the mark’s use began more efficiently than other methods.
“TM” and “SM” Symbols
The symbols “TM” for tradename and “SM” for “service mark” may be used to indicate that the owner claims rights to a mark, regardless of whether the mark is registered at the state or the federal level. The use of the “TM” or “SM” designations only serve to inform the public that a word, logo, slogan, design, etc., is being used as a mark and reflects the owner’s intent to claim trademark rights in the mark. However, the use of these symbols themselves does not guarantee that the owner’s mark will be protected under trademark laws. For more information regarding trademark symbols, please see www.inta.org.
The application process consists of paying a fee and submitting the appropriate application, containing:
- The name and address of the applicant.
- The class of merchandise and a particular description of the goods.
- The mode in which the trademark is used, the nature of the business, and the use of the mark.
- The date the trademark was first used or adopted and a statement that no other person has a right to it. The statement must be signed under oath by each applicant, or by an agent or duly authorized officer.
- A packaging label or exact facsimile of the mark must be attached. In the case of an odd shaped container or a container where the label is directly imprinted (such as a maple syrup jug, or a soda can) a photo of the product is acceptable.
We may decline to register a trademark for a number of reasons. Flags, coats of arms, or other insignia of the United States or any state, municipality, or foreign country may not be included in the trademark, nor may portraits of living individuals, except with their written consent.
Trademarks will be rejected if they might cause confusion or mistake in the minds of the public, if they are scandalous or immoral, or if they merely contain the name of a person or words descriptive of merchandise.
A trademark registration is good for 10 years, and may be renewed by filing a renewal application within the year prior to the expiration of the 10-year period.
The ownership of trademarks may be transfered to others upon the filing of the form (below) with the required filing fee.
Please see “Trademark FAQs” for more information