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Is Offering of a Service Use of a Mark?

Published in Managing Intellectual Property
Article | April 2015

This article highlights how in Couture v. Playdom, Inc., the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit addressed for the first time whether a trademark applicant's offering of a service, without actually providing such services, is sufficient to constitute use of a mark in commerce. Citing past precedent, the court held that "without question, advertising or publicizing a service that the applicant intends to perform in the future will not support registration" and instead such advertising "must relate to an existing service which has already been offered to the public" The decision highlights the importance of making sure services are actually being rendered under an applied-for mark before claiming a date of first use of such mark in a trademark filing.

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