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A Mark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or similar element that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services. At this site, the term "Mark" refers to the trademark or service mark, whether composed of words, graphic designs, shapes, colors, or other elements capable of identifying source.

A trademark is a Mark used to identify goods, whereas a service mark is a Mark used to identify services. Normally, a trademark for goods appears on the product or on its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.

Trademarks are based on use in the United States; one who uses a Mark gains a right to exclude others from using "confusingly similar" Marks. Registration of a Mark brings other benefits, but use of a Mark is the origin of the trademark right. For further information on the acquisition of trademark rights, see TM Acquisition.

Note to grammarians: the word "trademark" is a noun, not a verb. One does not trademark a name, one registers one's trademark (or one's right in that trademark).

Trademark rights should be distinguished from copyrights, which apply to original artistic or literary works, and also different from patents, which apply to functional or design aspects of useful products or processes.