Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Difference between a Trademark and Service Mark

A Trademark is any word, name, symbol, device or any combination of words, names, symbols or devices used by a person to identify and distinguish the goods of that person, including a unique product from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.

A Service Mark is a mark used to identify a service rather than a product. A service mark differs from a trademark in that the mark is used for the advertising of services rather than on the packaging or delivery of the service. When registering a service mark you use the same form as the trademark.

Duration of a Trademark or Service Mark

The duration of a Registration of Mark is 5 years from the date of registration. A Mark may be renewed an additional 5 years by filing a Renewal of Mark within 3 months of the expiration of the registration.

Specimen of a Mark

State law requires 3 specimens, which may consist of samples or photocopies representing how the Mark is being used in conjunction with the goods or service. The 3 specimens may be identical if you only have one means in which the mark is being used.

Trademark or Service Mark filed in Montana

A Mark filed with our office is effective only for the State of Montana and does not protect your Mark that was federally filed or copyrighted. A Mark when registered with our office must be in use within the state. Prior to registering your Mark with our office we recommend you check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office http://www.uspto.gov/ to determine if another entity has registered a similar mark.

Trademarking your Business Name

A business name is not generally eligible for registration as a Mark, except when the name is used for advertising or placed on goods. If you are considering registering your business name as a Mark we recommend you consult an attorney to determine if that is the best course of action.

Trademark – Words/Letters Only versus Design

Your registration form must include a clear representation of the mark you want to register with our office. We will use the representation you reflect in Item 1 on the form to register your mark with our office. There are two formats you may use when registering your mark: (1) words only format; or (2) stylized design format The words only format is used when registering words, letters, numbers or a combination without claim to any font, size or color and is absent of any design element. Your 3 specimens for this type of trademark registration must NOT include a design. The “stylized or design format” is a mark with a design and/or words and/or letters having a particular stylized appearance that you are wanting to protect. Your 3 specimens for this mark must reflect your specific design.

Trademark Symbol

A Trademark symbol (see example below) may only be used if you registered your mark federally.


To Federally Register a
Patent, Trademark or Copyright

Patent Depository Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program


Patents, national trademarks U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Copyrights U.S. Copyright Office