The Benefits of Federal Trademark Registration

Posted by on May 28, 2013

These days, it seems like everyone’s on the trademark registration train, but some might not even know why, and those who aren’t on the train question whether they should be on it. For owners of small businesses, start-ups, or charitable organizations, the costs of a trademark application and attorney’s fees might be a deterrence, but for these owners, the upside in national trademark protection is unmistakable.

While a registered trademark is not required for an entity to go about its operations, early registration cannot only assert the entity’s status as a senior user, but with adequate counsel from an attorney, it can prevent future lawsuits brought forth by other entities concerning likelihood of confusion.

In addition the benefits above, an owner of a registered trademark has rights including public notice of its claim to the mark, a legal presumption of the ownership and exclusive right to use the mark nationwide in connection with the goods and services listed in the registration, the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court, the ability to use the registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries, the ability to record the registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent the importation of counterfeits, the right to use the federal registration symbol, and listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.

Without a registered trademark, an entity has only the protection that state common law has to provide. This alternative does not provide any of the benefits above, and generally is only limited to the senior user preventing another entity from using the mark in a manner that will cause a likelihood of confusion.

So, the answer to whether one should be on the train comes down to one thing: Is the cost of a few hundred dollars now worth the investment in your entity’s growth in the future?