Frequently Asked Questions

International Law: Intellectual Property

What is a Trademark?

A trademark protects words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce. Registration of a trademark is not required in the U.S., although there are benefits to obtaining a Federal trademark registration through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademarks are territorial; unlike the United States, most countries require registration of trademark rights. For general trademark information, please telephone the Trademark Assistance Center, at 1-800-786-9199, or e-mail your question to If you have questions regarding foreign trademarks, conact you local Pennsyvania Regional Export Network (REN) Partner via the contact us section of this website or call 1-866-999-HALT.

For additional information, view the legal lessons under the Export Tutorials section of this website.

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