Benefits of a US Federal Trademark Registration
If trademark rights accrue through use, and you have started to use a trademark in association with certain goods and services, then you are fully covered, right? Wrong. Use alone is not the best practice for establishing trademark rights. Nor, is the filing of one or more State trademark registrations. The best practice is to obtain a Federal Trademark Registration. And, there are many reasons that the real benefits lie with the obtaining of a Federal Trademark Registration.
First, you have a legal presumption of the exclusive right to use your mark nationwide in connection with the goods and services listed in the registration. This right extends to all the states and territories of the United States. Even if the mark is not in use everywhere, you have constructive and exclusive rights to everywhere in the US, that is, you have rights superior in the US to anyone that adopts the same mark after you. This is a powerful right, especially where most businesses start in certain localities and expand. It is good to know that your rights are nationwide right from the start.
Second, you have a legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark. The mere presence of the registration means that you are the owner when it comes time to enforce. Additional proof is not necessary to establish ownership. There are no complicated proofs and the like that are required at the time of a trial or assertion of your rights against another infringer. Rather, the ownership is presumed.
Third, by virtue of the Federal Trademark Registration, you have placed the public on notice that you are the owner of the mark. The notice provision is very helpful as it puts the responsibility on the junior user to ensure that there is no senior user.
Fourth, by virtue of the Federal Trademark Registration, you are in the USPTO database, and the USPTO will not all other marks to be registered that they deem confusingly similar to your mark. This is also important, because, while you can police and trace applications for opposition, much of the work to stop other similar marks occurs in the background at the USPTO, and by Examining Attorneys at the USPTO that are government employees. As such, this is happening without any cost to you.
Fifth, by virtue of the Federal Trademark Registration, you have the ability to record the trademark with the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. The agency will use your trademark registration to help prevent importation of goods that infringe your trademark, or are counterfeit goods. Here again, the government is there to protect your rights to your trademark.
Sixth, by virtue of the Federal Trademark Registration, you have the right to bring a legal action concerning the registered mark (such as an accusation of infringement against another party) in Federal District Court. The ability to bring the action in Federal Court is a big plus, and, many of the proofs are presumptive.
Seventh, the Federal Trademark Registration can form the basis for applying for a trademark registration in many foreign countries around the world.
Eighth, the Federal Trademark Registration allows you to use the “circle R” symbol ® when displaying your mark. This can only legally be done with a Federally Registered Trademark. The symbol indicates and places the public on notice that you have nationwide rights to the mark.