Maine Marks Information
Thank you for your interest in filing a mark in the State of Maine.
The Department of the Secretary of State, through the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, serves as the registry for all marks filed in Maine. We develop the appropriate forms required to file a mark, approve of all marks to ensure they comply with Maine law and provide information to the public on mark availability and current registrations.
This information will assist you as you begin to examine the options available to you and your business. However, it cannot replace the specific knowledge and guidance that can be provided by a lawyer as you make your own personal business decisions. Therefore, we encourage you to seek this assistance, when necessary, as you move through this process.
What is a mark?
A mark may be a series of words, symbols or design (or a combination) that uniquely identifies a business, trade, or product. There are several different types of marks depending on what is being identified.
What are the different types of marks?
A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device or any combination of those adopted and used by a person to identify the goods made or sold by that person from goods made or sold by others.
A service mark is a mark used in the sale or advertising of services to identify the services of one person from the services of others.
A collective mark is a trademark or service mark used by the members of a cooperative, an association or other collective group or organization and includes marks used to indicate membership in a union, an association or other organization.
A certification mark is a mark used on or in connection with the products or services of one or more people other than the owner of the mark to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristics of such goods or services, or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.
A combination service/trademark is a mark applied to goods and used in connection with services provided by the applicant.
What is the purpose of filing a mark?
One of the main purposes of filing a mark is to protect your trade name or logo from use by other businesses in Maine.
Who can file a mark?
Anyone operating a business in Maine can file a mark, including sole proprietors and general partnerships. To register a mark, it must be in use as part of your business at the time of filing. Marks cannot be reserved for future use.
How can I register a mark?
An application must be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State. Your application will be examined to determine if the requested design, logo, and/or text is available. Your requested mark may be approved if it is not exactly like or deceptively similar to another mark or name on file.
Once a mark is registered, is it good forever?
No. A mark registered with the Secretary of State is valid for a period of ten years. The mark may be renewed at any time during the six months prior to expiration.
What are classifications?
General classifications of goods and services have been established by law to make it easier to determine mark usage. There are forty-three general classifications of goods and services that you must choose from when registering a mark to help categorize your request.
Do I need to file my mark with the Maine Secretary of State and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?
It depends on where you are doing business with your mark. By filing your mark with the Maine Secretary of State, you are protecting your mark from use by others within the State of Maine. If you are expanding your business to other states, you may need to file your mark in those states as well.
Marks may also be filed at the federal level with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Filing with the PTO is generally suggested when your business is involved in interstate commerce activities.
For information on federal trademark and patent requirements contact:
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at 800-786-9199 or www.uspto.gov