Service mark
A service mark or servicemark is a trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 used in some countries, notably the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, to identify a service rather than a product
Product (business)
In general, the product is defined as a "thing produced by labor or effort" or the "result of an act or a process", and stems from the verb produce, from the Latin prōdūce ' lead or bring forth'. Since 1575, the word "product" has referred to anything produced...

. When a service mark is federally registered, the standard registration symbol ®
Registered trademark symbol
The registered trademark symbol, designated by ® , is a symbol used to provide notice that the preceding mark is a trademark or service mark that has been registered with a national trademark office...

 or "Reg U.S. Pat & TM Off" may be used (the same symbol is used to mark registered trademarks). Before it is registered, it is common practice (with some legal standing) to use the service mark symbol
Service mark symbol
The service mark symbol, designated by ℠ , is a symbol commonly used in the United States to provide notice that the preceding mark is a service mark. This symbol has some legal force, and is typically used for service marks not yet registered with the U.S...

 ℠ (a superscript SM).

Use of a service mark

A service mark differs from a trademark in that the mark is used on the advertising of the service rather than on the packaging or delivery of the service, since there is generally no "package" to place the mark on, which is the practice for trademarks. For example, a private carrier
Private carrier
A private carrier is a company that transports only their own goods. Usually the carrier's primary business is not transportation but rather something else. For example, the Wegmans grocery store chain owns and operates their own private fleet to deliver produce and goods to their stores...

 can paint its service mark on its vehicles, such as on planes or buses. Personal service providers can place their service marks on their delivery vehicles, such as on the trucks of plumbers or on moving vans. However, if the service deals with communications, it is possible to use a service mark consisting of a sound (a sound mark) in the process of delivering the service. This has been done in the case of AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

, which uses a tone sound followed by a woman speaking the company's name to identify its long distance service, MGM, which uses the sound of a lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

's roar, and RKO, which uses a Morse code
Morse code
Morse code is a method of transmitting textual information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment...

 signal for their motion pictures.

Under United States law, service marks have a different standard of use in order to count as a use in commerce, which is necessary to complete registration and to stop infringement by competitors. A trademark normally needs to be used on or directly in association with the sale of goods, such as on a store display. As services are not defined by a concrete product, use of a service mark on the uniforms or vehicles of service providers or in advertisements is instead accepted as a use in commerce. However, like trademarks, service marks must pass a test of distinctiveness for it to be qualified as a service mark. Thrifty, Inc.
Dollar-Thrifty Automotive Group
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group is a holding company for Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car, formed in 1990 by Chrysler and spun off in 1997....

 attempted to submit a service mark application which described aspects of their business (uniforms, buildings, certain vehicles) as "being blue"; the application was rejected for not being specific enough, and the rejection was upheld on appeal.

The service mark is also available in unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

as symbol U+2120; it displays on Unicode-capable browsers as .
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