There are many reasons why you should register your trademark. A federal trademark registration issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides you with numerous important benefits and protections. First, a federal trademark registration is prima facie evidence of (1) the validity of the registered trademark, (2) your ownership of the registered trademark, and (3) your nationwide right to use the registered trademark in commerce in connection with the products/services listed in your trademark registration. These benefits are extraordinarily helpful should you ever have to file a lawsuit against an individual or business that you believe is infringing upon your trademark. They are also quite valuable in the unfortunate event that you are ever sued for trademark infringement.
Another advantage of obtaining a federal trademark registration is the ability for your trademark to become “incontestable.” A federally registered trademark that has been in use for five consecutive years after its registration date may become incontestable by filing a Declaration of Incontestability (also known as a “Section 15”). Once your trademark is incontestable, the validity and ownership of your trademark cannot be challenged by a third-party in any subsequent litigation.
Obtaining a federal trademark registration puts the entire world on constructive of your rights in your trademark. The USPTO database is freely accessible by the general public. If someone wants to know whether your trademark is federally registered for certain products or services, all that person has to do is perform a search of the Trademark Office’s records in order to find out that information.
In addition, ownership of a federal trademark registration allows you to use the ® symbol. The ® designation puts the world on actual notice of your federal trademark rights, and can act as a strong deterrent to others who may be considering adopting an identical or confusingly similar mark. A trademark registration also gives you the ability to register your trademark with United States Customs and Border Protection in order to prevent the importation of infringing products. It can also be used as a basis for expedited registration of your trademark in a number of foreign countries.
I like to think of a federal trademark registration as an insurance policy. You purchase automobile insurance in the event you are involved in a car accident. You buy homeowners insurance in case your house goes up in flames. And you purchase health insurance in the event you become seriously ill. Of course, you hope you never have to use your insurance policies, but you are extremely glad you bought them if a tragedy does occur. Similarly, a federal trademark registration is like insurance on your trademark in that it protects your most valuable business asset and assists you in recovering monetary damages you will likely suffer as a result of an infringement or misappropriation by someone else.
If you have any questions about how to register your trademark or the many benefits of federal trademark registration, please do not hesitate to contact me for your free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you soon.