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USPTO is an ancroynm for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The role of this agency is to register trademarks and to grant patents. It serves the interest of inventors and businesses with respect to their inventions and corporate products, and service identifications.

The USPTO also advises and assists the bureaus and offices of the U.S. Department of Commerce and other agencies of the U.S. Government in matters involving intellectual property (IP).

What is Trademark Infringement?

Based on the provisions of the Lanham Act, trademark infringement occurs when someone uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which:

  • is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistakes, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
  • in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characterstics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities.
What is a Trademark?

The Lanham Act, which is the set of U.S. laws related to trademarks, defines the term “trademark” as a word, name, symbol, device, or any combination thereof used by a person to identify and distinguish his or her goods from those manufactured or sold by others and also to indicate the source of the goods.

While trademarks identify “goods” – usually, tangible products – service marks identify services. In many cases trademarks and service marks are interchangeably referred to as trademarks, or simply marks.