Trademark/Service Mark – FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a service mark and a trademark?
A. Trade 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.

Q. If I register my mark will it protect the name/design/logo?
A. Registering a mark with the secretary of state does not necessarily mean that someone else does not already have a superior right to use that mark in commerce. It merely puts the public on notice that the mark is in use.

Q. How do I search for a trademark or service mark registered with the Kansas secretary of state’s office?
A. Visit sos.kansas.gov. Click on business entities, next trademark or service-mark search. Here you have five search options to review marks on file with the office.

Q. What is the filing fee for a trademark/service mark registration?
A. The filing fee for the application is $40. Please submit payment by check, money order, or credit card. Checks and money orders need to be made payable to the Secretary of State. Forms received without the appropriate fee will not be accepted for filing. Please do not send cash.

Q. What form do I use to file a trademark or service mark?
A. The form name is TSA available at sos.kansas.gov.

Q. How do I maintain a registration?
A. Registrations expire by law after five years unless the owner of the mark submits a renewal form. The renewal form, TSR, is available at sos.kansas.gov and should be submitted to the secretary of state’s office during the last 6 months of the 5-year registration period. A mark must still be in use at the time of the renewal. The renewal filing fee is $40. Renewal applications must be received with all correct information statutorily required on or before the current term of registration expires. If the renewal application is not filed on or before the current registration’s term expires, a new application for registration must be made.

Q. How many specimens do I need to submit with the new application for registration?
A. Submit three (3) identical (meaning: three of the exact same) original specimens supporting the goods/services described and supporting the manner in which the mark is used in business. The specimens should be in a reasonably flat form no larger than 8 ½ by 11 inches, suitable for scanning. If such a specimen is not available, please submit a photograph of the specimen suitable for scanning that clearly shows the mark in use.

Q. How many specimens do I need to submit with the renewal?
A. Submit one (1) original specimen supporting the goods/services in which the mark is used in business.

Q. What are acceptable specimens?
A. Trademark specimens include showing the mark on actual labels, wrappers or tags affixed to, or containers and packaging used with, the goods. A photograph of an actual display that appears in immediate proximity to the goods (“point-of-sale” display) is also an acceptable specimen. Brochures, business cards and other means of advertising materials of the product are not acceptable trademark specimens.

Service mark specimens include showing the mark on actual materials used in selling or advertising the services, such as menus, newspaper advertisements, screen shots from web pages showing the URL address, coupons, brochures, flyers, and business cards. To serve as specimens, advertising materials must contain some understandable reference to the services provided described in the application and contact information to obtain the services. Envelopes, letterhead and invoices are not acceptable specimens.

Q. Do I need to register a mark with both the State and Federal government?
A. Several factors determine whether you should file with the state or federal or both. This may require that you consult with an attorney to help determine where you should file.

Q. What is a trademark/service mark assignment?
A. An assignment is when the owner of the mark assigns or changes the owner from one person to a different person or new owner of the mark. You may use form TSS at sos.kansas.gov. The filing fee is $15.

Q. How do I change the name of the current owner of the trademark/service mark?
A. You may change the name of the current owner by using form TSN at sos.kansas.gov. The filing fee is $15.

Q. How do I cancel my trademark/service mark before the expiration date?
A. Any current owner of the mark may voluntarily request cancellation of the mark. A cancellation must be filed prior to the expiration date with the secretary of state’s office. You may use form TSC at sos.kansas.gov. The filing fee is $15.