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What function does a mark serve?

Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

A trademark serves primarily to distinguish one producer's goods or products from similar goods produced by another. Trademarks can also be used to show that goods are from a single source and are of consistent quality. Trademarks reflect the goodwill or integrity of a particular organization.

The primary function of a service mark is to distinquish a given service provided by one business from similar services provided by another, or to distinquish the advertising or sales promotion of an organization. Service marks can also be used to show that services are from a single source and are of a consistent quality. Service marks, like trademarks, also reflect the goodwill or integrity of a particular organization.

In contrast to trademarks and service marks, a trade name functions to identify a business entity and to distinguish it from other business entities regardless of what goods or services are provided. Unlike some other states, Michigan does not have a central registration of trade names. Sole proprietorships(e.g., ownership by one individual) using as assumed name and general partnerships register with the county clerk. Corporations (profit, nonprofit, ecclesiastical and professional service), limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships file with the Corporations Division of the Corporations, Securities, & Commercial Licensing Bureau. For more information please review the Entrepreneur's Guide. We also have a list of registered trademarks available on this site.

Related Content
 •  What is an Insignia?
 •  What is a trademark, service mark and a trade name?
 •  What act governs Michigan mark registration?
 •  Trademark, Service Mark & Insignia Forms
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