Trademarks: Glossary of Terms
TRADEMARK means any word, name, symbol, character, design, drawing or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a person to identify goods made or sold by him or her and to distinguish them from goods made or sold by others.
SERVICE MARK means any word, name, symbol, character, design, drawing or device or any combination thereof and the distinctive features of radio, television or other advertising, adopted and used by a person to identify services rendered or offered by him or her and to distinguish them from services rendered or offered by others.
CERTIFICATION MARK means a trademark or service mark used upon or in connection with the products or services of one or more persons other than the owner of the mark to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristics of such goods or services or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.
COLLECTIVE MARK means a trademark or service mark used by the members of a cooperative, an association or other collective group or organization and includes marks used to indicate membership in a union, an association or other organization.
Trademarks: General Information
A trademark or service mark may be registered with the Division of Corporations, providing the mark meets all requirements and complies with the provisions stipulated in Chapter 495, Florida Statutes. The owner of a mark may be an individual or a legally recognized business so long as the business entity maintains an active registration on file with the Division. A mark must be in use before it can be registered. In the case of a trademark, the good(s) or product(s) must be on sale in the market place. For a service mark, the applicant must actually be rendering the service for which a service mark is applied. The mere advertising of goods or services does not constitute use of a trade or service mark.
Marks submitted for registration or reservation are checked for distinction from marks that are registered or reserved with the Division. Marks submitted for registration or reservation are not checked, however, for distinction from corporation names, fictitious names or any other entity names registered with the Division. It is the responsibility of the registering party to investigate the availability of a proposed mark and to determine that the mark does not constitute infringement upon the mark of another. It is the responsibility of the owner of an existing mark to defend it against infringement.
Rights to ownership of a mark are perfected by actual use in the ordinary pursuit of the specific endeavor; rights are not perfected by registration only. The rule “FIRST IN USE, FIRST IN RIGHT” is applicable. Ownership of a mark is not bestowed by a government entity but is obtained through use. Registering a mark is a means of placing notice to the public that the name is in use. Trusted legal advice regarding use and registration of a mark is recommended.
Trademark or service mark registrations with the Division are state government level registrations. They do not replace registrations with the federal government. To obtain information regarding federal registration, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. For information regarding copyrights, contact the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
866/217-9197 (Customer Service)
Trademark Assistance Center 800/786-9199
Copyright Office 202/707-3000
For information on fees, call (850) 488-9000; write to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Corporate Filings, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314 or check the Department’s website – www.dos.state.fl.us.