8 Advantages of Federal Trademark Registration

Trademark goods and services

Given that intellectual property (IP) can make up a significant portion—sometimes up to 90%—of the total value of today’s companies, it’s essential that you do everything you can to protect these intangible assets. And one of the first IP elements you’ll want to protect are your company’s brand name and logo.

To safeguard these brand assets, you’ll need to secure trademarks. A trademark registration can protect words, slogans, symbols, and other distinguishing features of your brand by allowing you to prohibit other businesses from using the same—or highly similar—branding as yours.

Yet not all trademark registrations offer equal protection. For example, you can gain what’s known as trademark common law rights for free simply by being the first business to use your particular brand name in commerce. However, as you’ll see below, trademark common law rights are extremely limited and will prove highly inadequate for most companies.

For maximum protection, you should register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Although registering your trademark with USPTO typically costs around $350 per mark, doing so provides you with numerous advantages compared with trademark common law rights. Some of the leading advantages of trademark registration include:

1. Notice of trademark ownership:

Registration of your trademark provides your company with official documentation and public notice that you are the valid owner of the mark and have the exclusive right to use it across the entire U.S. This is in contrast to a trademark common law right, which requires a company to actually use the mark in business to gain ownership, and that ownership is limited to the local area where the business is located.

2. Prevents others from using a similar trademark:

Once your trademark is registered, it’s listed in the USPTO’s database, and no one else can register a confusingly similar mark in connection with similar goods and services. To this end, the federal government is essentially assisting you to enforce your rights and preventing trademark infringement before it can start, without any additional action needed on your part.

3. Protects you from trademark infringement:

Because the USPTO will not allow you to register a similar trademark to any others that are registered, this also prevents you from accidentally infringing on another company’s mark. This can not only save you from a financially ruinous lawsuit down the road, but also prevent you from having to completely reinvent your brand from scratch if your mark is too similar to one that’s already registered.

4. Gives you the right to sue in federal court:

Having a trademark registered gives you the right for a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court, where you will receive the presumption of being the valid owner of the mark. The presumption of ownership shifts the burden of proof to the defendant who might try to claim they have trademark common law rights as a defense. Under this burden, the defendant must prove that he/she was first to use the mark and their use has been continuous, which can be extremely difficult, requiring extensive documentation and/or witnesses.

5. Offers additional legal remedies:

Trademark registration can increase the number of remedies available to you in a trademark infringement lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, you can go after the defendant’s profits, seek statutory and punitive damages, as well as collect for attorney’s fees and court costs. Such remedies typically aren’t available with only trademark common law rights.

6. Allows you to publicly display your registration:

Registration grants you the right to use the ® trademark symbol with your trademark branding. Unregistered marks are only allowed to use the ™ trademark symbol. This designation gives your company more credibility and prestige, while letting competitors know you’re serious about protecting your IP.

7. Enables you to apply for trademark registration in foreign markets:

While federal trademark registration is usually not enforceable outside of US borders, registering does provide you with a basis for applying for trademarks in many other countries. Having trademarks in other countries can be especially important, with the rapid globalization of the marketplace and widespread use of the internet.

8. Empowers enforcement of trademark by U.S. Customs officials:

While federal trademark registration is usually not enforceable outside of US borders, registering does provide you with a basis for applying for trademarks in many other countries. Having trademarks in other countries can be especially important, with the rapid globalization of the marketplace and widespread use of the internet.

Enforcing your rights

It’s important to keep in mind that outside of prohibiting others from registering a confusingly similar trademark, the USPTO will not enforce your trademark rights or bring any legal action against an infringer—that’s up to you. That said, if you discover potential trademark infringement, we as your trademark lawyer, can help you enforce your ownership rights, and do everything we can to maintain your trademark rights without a lawsuit. Indeed, we often write letters that not only resolve the conflict, but also inspire the other party to join you in an ongoing joint venture that can benefit both parties.

By allowing Artisan Law to handle the federal registration of your trademark, you can stay focused on other important matters of your business, while we handle the underlying structures that support your business growth. Not only can we help you secure the proper trademarks, but we can also work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect all of your other intellectual property, as well as support the ongoing strategy of building a great business and a great brand.

This article is a service of Artisan Law™ We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business.

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