My last post discussed the four different types of intellectual property. The next few posts will provide you with additional background information about those types of property. This one describes the benefits you receive when you take the proactive step of federally registering your trademark(s).
In the United States using a trademark in commerce can allow you to establish trademark rights for that mark. However, unless you register that mark federally, your rights will be limited. Most notably, your rights will be limited to the geographical area in which you can prove that you used the mark. Also, should someone infringe or dilute your mark, you may be limited to seeking redress in state court.
In contrast, federally registering your mark can provide several advantages. Those advantages include the following:
- First, there is actual notice. It is much easier for someone to identify that you own, or are utilizing, a mark for certain types of goods and/or services because your mark is in a central register.
- Second, the public is put on “constructive notice” of your claim of ownership of the mark. That means people are deemed to have knowledge that you own, or are utilizing, a mark for certain types of goods and/or services regardless of whether they knew it or not.
- Third, upon completion of registering the mark, you have the right to use the ® symbol to put people on notice of the trademark.
- Presumption in Court: Having a federally registered mark provides a legal presumption of your ownership of the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide for the registered goods and/or services.
- This is particularly important when you are thinking about launching a brand. By taking care of this legal item first, you are less likely to have to scrap a brand name or limit its use geographically after you have sunk a lot or money into developing it.
- Federal Court: Having a federally registered mark gives you keys to the federal courthouse. Generally speaking, federal courts have the reputation for adjudicating cases more quickly than their state counterparts.
- Statutory Damages and Attorney Fees: In some instances, having a federally registered mark will allow you to obtain statutory damages and/or attorney fees for trademark infringement.
- US Customs: Having a federally registered mark gives you the ability to have the U.S. Customs Service prevent the importation of knockoffs. This can be particularly important if you are selling goods.
- Foreign Jurisdictions: Having federally registered mark can act as a basis to obtain registration in certain foreign countries.
So there you have it: The basics as to why federally registering your mark is advantageous. If you are interested in possibly retaining Putnam Gordon, P.C. to assist with your intellectual property, feel free to contact us. Potential clients may reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about us on our website at www.putnamgordon.com.
Jason Putnam Gordon is based in San Francisco and focuses on intellectual property law and business law. The information above is for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice for any particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed until the execution of an engagement agreement.