How do I determine if I should federally register my trademark?

The first question most people ask:  Do I have to file a federal registration in order to be the owner of the trademark?

The short answer is no.

You can start to establish common law rights to your trademark based on the use of your trademark in commerce, in your business.  But there are multiple reasons why being the registered owner of the trademark, or more commonly referred to as just a mark, is beneficial.

When you have a registered trademark there is the legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark.  This means that it is presumed that you have the exclusive right to use the mark throughout the country on or in connection with the goods and services you listed in the registration application.

Registration is notice to the public that you claim ownership of the mark, and the right to use the ® symbol.

Federal registration also gives the owner the ability to bring suit in federal court and the mark is listed on the USPTO’s online search data base.

Having your mark federally registered also gives you the power to record your registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service so that they are aware to look for and prevent any infringing/fake goods from being imported.

Remember, your trademark is the way people identify your product/service and come to recognize it as having and being of a particular quality.  Don’t let phony’s dilute your hard work.


Hilary Metz

Copyright 2013

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