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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Intellectual Property: Trademarks

Sources for Trademarks and Service Marks

Use these websites to search for trademarks.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a form of intellectual property protection for words, phrases, symbols, logos, or designs used by individuals or corporations to identify and/or brand their products or services. The term “trademark” is often restricted to distinguishing products while the term “service mark” is used to distinguish services. Trademarks are designated by the following symbols:

  • ™  to indicate an unregistered trade mark
  • ℠  to indicate an unregistered service mark
  • ®   to indicate a registered trademark

Trademarks are an important part of commerce because they give businesses a way to easily distinguish their products and services from their competitors. This allows companies to build their business by building brand recognition and loyalty. For the consumer, a trademark indicates or implies that the goods or services being offered are meet certain standards of quality. This generates goodwill, or a positive feeling, toward the product or manufacturer that also encourages brand loyalty.