In addition to our extensive patent services, the attorneys in our firm each have considerable experience in prosecuting trademark applications at both the state level and federally in the U.S. Trademark Office. A business’ goodwill, as represented by its brand name, logos, or slogans, is a vital asset to any company. The U.S. Patent and Trademark provides protections of this goodwill through its federal registration system, which our firm would be pleased to prosecute on your behalf.
Please peruse the trademark section of our website for an overview of the essentials of trademark protection and its relevance to your business. Our firm would be pleased to serve any business owner, or corporate attorney, in the protection of the business’ goodwill, and our initial consultations, including an evaluation of potential business names and/or logos for compliance with the federal requirements of the Lanham Act, are always free of charge and kept strictly confidential.
LEGAL RIGHTS GAINED FROM FEDERAL REGISTRATION OF A MARK
Rights to a mark are acquired in the United States by using the mark. Registration, however, allows for certain enhancements of those rights. To that effect, there are two types of trademark registrations available to protect such marks: federal and state. A federal registration gives the owner rights throughout the entire United States and its territories. Certain rights are even granted to the owner throughout the U.S. immediately upon the filing of the mark, without having to wait for the mark’s registration. A state registration, in contrast, only serves as a form of protection in the state in which it is issued, and is therefore of much more limited scope than a federal registration. Lastly, a mark that is in use without application or registration only has common law rights, which are limited to the specific area where the mark is used and is susceptible to additional challenges by potential competitors.
A business owner may apply for federal registration of a mark even before launching the products and/or services associated with the mark, as long as the owner intends to ultimately use the mark in commerce. Upon the subsequent use of the mark, the federal application may be amended to notify the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – and the rest of the nation – that the owner is now using the mark and asserting his or her rights to it. Once granted, the federal registration provides the full protection of the U.S. Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq., and its multitude of benefits. These benefits include the following:
- A legal presumption of the ownership of the mark, which applies throughout the United States;
- The exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration;
- A listing in a public database so that (1) others have constructive notice of the ownership of the mark, and (2) others may find the mark if searching for it, which may prevent conflicts before they even arise;
- The ability to enforce the owner’s rights to the mark in federal district court;
- The ability to stop the importation of infringing foreign goods;
- The basis for registering in other countries;
- The right to use the federal registration system “®”; and
- The basis for preventing others from using the mark as a domain name (e.g., www.registeredmark.com).