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Trademark = Source Indicator

A trademark (or service mark) is any term or symbol which indicates the source of a good (or service).  In the United States, federal or state registration of a mark is optional; even without registration, rights in a mark grow just based upon use of the mark in commerce.  Still, there are many steps which should be taken as part of a trademark strategy for virtually any business.  In laying out a trademark strategy, a company should consider its total investment in a mark: not only the advertising budget, but the extent to which sales depend upon mark recognition, and how painful it would be to change a mark.  Taking prudent steps to avoid infringement of the rights of others can be as or more important than taking proper steps to acquire rights in a mark. 


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