What is the difference between a Trade Name, Trademark, and a Service Mark?

Each of these terms does mean something different, and while there are gray areas, it is easiest to see trade names as relating to businesses or entities and trademarks and service marks as relating to the products of businesses or entities.

A trade name is the name a business chooses to do business under. It is commonly known as the “doing business as” (DBA) name and can differ from the company’s business name.

If you produce goods, you would be applying for a trademark. If you “produce” or provide a service, you would be applying for a service mark.

For example, say there is a business called DCCA, Inc. (a corporation), or DCCA Co. (a partnership) and they register a trade name, “DCCA Manufacturing Co.” The corporation or partnership might also apply for registrations for its product, “DCCA Widgets” (trademark) and for its “DCCA Widget Maintenance” (probably a service mark, depending on what is “produced”).

Visit our Trade Names, Trademarks, and Service Marks page for more information and/or to register online.