In countries like the USA, there is a specific distinction given to Service Marks, indicated with the SM symbol, to only identify services.
In India, trademarks for a service-providing business or institution is also depicted by the TM symbol which is later changed to the ® symbol when the mark registration is complete.
Therefore, service marks are any trademarks that have been registered under the Trademark Classes 35 to 45, with the purpose of acting as a source identifier of the service provider. The procedure for service mark registration in India is the same as any other product trademark registration; there is no separate registration form or classification for registering service marks in India.
Trademark registration helps secure the important brand assets of the company, which helps create the identity of the brand.
A trademark is any word, device, symbol, colour, shape, number or a combination thereof, which is used to distinguish goods or services or one entity from those of the other.
For instance, the logo of Pepsi helps distinguish the product from those of Coke.
More on: Difference between Service Mark and Trademark
For theoretical purposes, service marks can be called a type of trademark. For instance, all service marks are trademarks, but not all trademarks are service marks.
Whether they are service marks or otherwise, is to fortify and protect the identity of the sources of the products and services of an individual or business, helping them forge a unique identity in the market that is separate from their competitors.
Trademarks and service marks have the same procedure for registration, and the registered trademark will be used like any other intellectual property. That means anyone other than the registered owner will not be allowed to use the mark without permission or license.
The mark that you want to register to represent your services should be unique, distinctive, and should not have been registered before. That is why it is always advisable to conduct a trademark search to avoid objections and oppositions to the trademark application.
India follows the NICE Classification of goods and services for trademarks registration. According to which there are 11 specific classes of marks that relate to service. Most popular international treaties, conventions and agreements such as the Berne Convention, Madrid Protocol or TRIPS Agreement follow the latest edition of the NICE classification.
Here is a look at the 11 classes of trademarks that relate to services.
There is no separate procedure for registering and maintaining service trademarks, they are treated and protected like any other product trademark. Service-based trademarks are registered under classes 35 to 45.