A Federal Trademark Registration provides individuals and business entities nationwide rights and in essence, protects ones brand. To receive a Federal Trademark Registration, you must file a federal trademark application and receive said registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) after approval of said application. You may also apply for a registration in one or more states, including a Florida trademark, but generally said protection is going to be limited to that state in which registration is sought. Additionally, a person or entity who uses a trademark or service mark in commerce with particular good(s) or service(s) also has “common law” rights to said mark. Common law rights, however, may be limited to the geographic areas in which said person(s) and entities sold said good(s) and/or rendered said service(s).
Federally registering your mark on the Principal Register generally provides the following advantages and/or benefits:
- A legal presumption of the exclusive right to use your mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and services identified in your registration (this is in contrast to, for example, a Florida trademark registration that only gives rights within the borders of the state of Florida—Federal registration will give you a presumption of rights throughout the United States and its territories);
- A legal presumption that you are the owner of the mark applied for. That is a real advantage if you need to enforce your registration either in or out of court. That said, be aware that even with that legal presumption of ownership, someone else could prove that they are the rightful owner because they started using the mark before you;
- Public notice that you are the owner of the mark. If there is a question as to who owns the mark, it can be looked up in the USPTO’s online database;
- Being listed in the USPTO’s database means that others considering potential marks can find your mark when they search the USPTO database to see if their mark is available. The existence of your mark in the database can help others to avoid selecting a mark that is too similar to yours. Additionally, the USPTO relies on the same database for its own search and will find your mark when examining someone else’s application. The USPTO will cite your registration against a confusingly similar mark in a later-filed application, preventing a potentially conflicting trademark from registering;
- The ability to record said trademark registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That agency will use your trademark registration to help prevent importation of infringing or counterfeit foreign goods;
- The right to bring additional legal action concerning the registered mark in federal court;
- Using your U.S. trademark registration as a basis for applying for a trademark registration in many foreign countries; and
- The right to use the coveted ® symbol with your mark, something that cannot be done unless your mark is federally registered. This symbol is typically placed on the right side of a mark and indicates that you have federally registered your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It puts the public on notice that your mark is registered and that you have nationwide rights in it.
In sum, Federal trademark registration and/or Florida trademark registration provides a lot of benefits which is why the USPTO has registered millions of trademarks from both domestic and foreign applicants over the years.
We, at Johnson Dalal, would be happy to answer any questions not answered above and/or to assist you with performing any trademark-related services. Please contact us by telephone at (888) 201-8001 or (954) 507-4500, or by email at Info@JohnsonDalal.com. We look forward to being YOUR trademark attorneys.