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General Services iconTrademark/Service Mark Information

Information About Trademarks and Service Marks

Trademarks vs. Service Marks

Trademarks and service marks are commonly referred to as brand names, logos, or slogans.

  • Trademarks are used to identify tangible goods.
  • Service Marks are used to identify services.

The term “mark” is used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Registering a Trademark or Service Mark

Registration of a trademark or service mark with the Secretary of State is strictly optional. Kansas statutes expressly provide that registration does not affect the common law rights of others. Any right you might have to use a mark has been acquired through your use of the mark. If someone has prior use of the mark, registration will not give any rights. Only your legal counsel can advise you about conflicting claims.

An application for trademark or service mark registration undergoes an examination process similar to the federal registration process. A “trademark examiner” reviews the application to ascertain whether the proposed mark is registrable under Kansas law, federal statutory law (upon which the Kansas trademark statute is based), and federal case law. The trademark examiners cannot provide legal advice with regard to trademark law applicable to a particular circumstance. Because trademark law is quite complex, the Secretary of State recommends that persons seeking to register a mark consult with a private attorney.