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Trademark Vs. Tradename Usage

Most lay people find the law and terminology surrounding trademarks and tradename to be confusing.

The formal name of a business is call its tradename. The name the business uses to market its products and services is call a trademark.

The distinction between tradenames and trademarks can be a little confusing because many small businesses use at least a part of their tradename as their trademark. Large businesses commonly use different names for their trademarks.

The distinction between a corporate name and a fictitious name can also be confusing. A corporate name is the tradename of a corporation that is registered in the Secretary of State's Office. Normally, the corporate name is followed by a corporate identifier, such as INC. or INCORPORATED, or CORP. or CORPORATION.

In some instances, individuals or partnerships will adopt a fictitious business name. When they do, they must file a fictitious name statement with the Department of Licensing.

To provide notice that a name has been adopted and used as a trademark, it is recommended that the business place a small "™" symbol after the mark. Such a symbol is not used with tradenames.

Back to Trademark Information
Dean A. Craine
Attorney At Law
400-112th Ave NE Suite 140
Bellevue, Washington 98004
Phone: 425-637-3035
Fax: 425-637-9312
E-Mail: dac@nwpatents.com
Legal Disclaimer
This website is intended to introduce you to the law office of Dean A. Craine, It is intended to be used as a resource for U.S. Intellectual property law. This website is NOT intended to be a source of legal advise. You should not rely on this information and should always seek competent legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The presentation of information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. While we make every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information contained in the website, the information is not guaranteed to be complete or reflect the most current legal developments.