According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office “A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of other.” Although finding a non-infringing trademark can be a challenge, nevertheless the many advantages of a federal trademark registration are so great that every business should persevere until it finds a non-infringing trademark, and then register it.
Federal registration of your trademark confers upon you, as the owner of your trademark, a tremendously enhanced ability to stop others from adopting and using your trademark or anything confusingly similar to it from the filing date of the federal trademark application. This occurs because registration gives you what trademark law calls “nationwide constructive notice” of your exclusive trademark rights. This means that from the day that the USPTO issues your registration, any competing business which adopts a trademark identical or confusingly similar to yours on or after your filing date, whether it knew about your mark or not, can no longer acquire any common-law rights in the mark.
Here are more of the many advantages of federal trademark registration:
- The right to use the official symbol “®” with your mark as a nationwide notice of federal registration of your mark (however, please be absolutely certain to wait until you receive formal written notification from the USPTO that you have secured a registered trademark before you start using the “®” with your mark).
- The right to sue infringers in federal court, and have federal law control the key issues of validity, ownership, infringement, injunctions, and damages.
- The right to expand actual use nationwide and displace post-registration infringers, and to freeze pre-registration mark users in place, which is an incentive for them to sell their geographically restricted rights in the mark to you.
- An initial registration term of 5 years and must be renewed between the 5th and 6th year after the registration date.
- Double protection against any later application for registration by anybody else of any mark that is identical or confusingly similar to your mark:
i. The USPTO’s internal examination, which will almost always find and invoke your registration against any such later application; and
ii. The power for you to timely file an opposition seeking to prevent registration of anybody’s else’s mark, when it is identical or confusingly similar to your mark; and to timely file a cancellation proceeding to cancel the registration of anybody’s else’s mark when it is identical or confusingly similar to your mark.
- Your mark will appear in trademark searches, which will often discourage other parties from adopting for themselves a mark which is identical or confusingly similar to your mark.
- The power to obtain improved trademark protection for your mark in other countries under certain international treaties.
- Upon request, the right to have the United States Customs Service block importation of products or materials bearing infringing or counterfeit trademarks.
- Overall, a much more robust protection of your trademark rights.
To evaluate your intellectual property and protect your investment in your brand, contact us today to pursue a federal trademark registration. Katelyn@hunterbusinesslaw.com will get you started.
This blog was written by Hunter Business Law.
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