Skip to main content
University Libraries
MSU Home | myGate | RacerNet | Canvas
Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest

Small Business Guide

Patents / Trademark Help


Comprehensive Sites


  • What is a trademark?
    • A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
    • Trademarks can be registered within the state or federally. To get a federally registered trade or service mark, the manufacturer or seller must be doing business in more than one state.
  • What are some kinds of words or images that are inappropriate for use in a trademark or service mark?
    • Generic terms or words used to merely describe the functionality of the goods or services.
    • Obscene, immoral, or deceptive matter.
    • A mark consisting of a name, portrait, or signature of a particular individual, except by the individual's written consent.

Online Resources for Trademark