Professional services are identified and distinguished by service marks, which are classified in accordance with the type of activities listed in International Classes 35 to 45. In essence, service marks have the same function as trademarks and are often collectively referred to as trademarks.
Service marks are most frequently slogans or names used in connection with services in order to differentiate their source in the market place. Professionals who seek to grow their practices tend to rely on catchy phrases or reputation attached to names to build strong brands. Services provided by means of software are also classified as service marks according to the subject matter of the information being exchanged. Service marks prove most valuable and deliver the greatest returns to firms that invest in innovation, quality of service, and attracting a loyal customer base.
The importance of the service sector in a developed economy correlates with the significance of service marks in differentiating services based on their quality, uniqueness, and knowledge-intensity. Service marks play an even greater role in business-to-customer relations in the cyberspace where the need to identify and distinguish brands is more emphasized. By protecting service providers’ goodwill, service marks allow firms to expand more easily into new service and customer markets.