A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods. Related is a service mark which is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.
Trademarks (TM) or service marks (SM) may be used at any time, even if you haven’t applied with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for a registration. However, you may only use the federal registration symbol “®” after the USPTO officially registers the mark — not while an application is pending.
While it is possible to apply for a federal trademark without representation, we recommend you enlist a trademark attorney to assist with the process, including drafting the application, filing the necessary paperwork, and responding to the USPTO’s objections.