The Top 10 Benefits of a U.S. Trademark Registration

Here are the top 10 benefits of registering your trademark on the Principal Register of the USPTO:

  1. Deters Potential Infringers

Others will be deterred or at least discouraged from using a mark that is confusingly similar to yours if they can easily find yours with a trademark availability search on the USPTO website (or a Google search that leads to it). And if someone uses your registered trademark anyway, they may stop quickly in response to a cease-and-desist letter from you or your attorney.

  1. Protects Against Registration of Confusingly Similar Marks

When someone else applies for a trademark that is confusingly similar to your previously registered one, the USPTO must and will search its Register beforehand at no cost to you and refuse to register the new mark on the grounds that doing so would create confusion in the marketplace about the rightful owner of the mark and infringe your rights. (This assumes that the USPTO will find your mark in its Register during its search, but if the marks are the same or confusingly similar, it usually will.)

  1. Facilitates Legal Action Against Infringers

If someone else uses a trademark that is confusingly similar to your registered one and won’t stop even after you notify them with a cease-and-desist letter, you can bring a trademark infringement lawsuit against them in federal court in the United States and possibly obtain a judgment for (potentially enormous) statutory damages, actual damages, and attorneys’ fees.

  1. Leads to National Recognition

The United States has a “first-to-use” system for trademarks, where the first one to use a trademark in interstate – that is, between U.S. states – commerce wins. Once you apply for U.S. registration of your trademark, the USPTO will treat your mark as if it is being used (or will be used) nationally as of the application date and is entitled to be recognized as such. Otherwise, the USPTO may assume that your mark is only being used locally (e.g., citywide or statewide) and does not prevent others from using it elsewhere.

  1. Serves as Nationwide Notice

Your trademark in the register of the USPTO will provide nationwide notice of your ownership of the mark as of the date of registration. Anyone who subsequently attempts to use the same mark will not be able to claim that you failed to provide adequate legal notice of your exclusive rights to it beforehand. The USPTO will not accept ignorance of your mark as an excuse because your registration serves as the ideal form of nationwide notice.

  1. Constitutes Proof of Exclusive Ownership

Your registered trademark with the USPTO serves as proof of your exclusive ownership of the mark that can be used in any administrative or judicial setting to protect and enforce your rights. Moreover, after five years on the register and continuous use of your mark, you can file for additional protection by seeking a determination that your mark is “incontestable.”

  1. Conveys Instant Credibility and Legitimacy

Once you have a registered trademark, you can use the ® symbol in connection with your goods and/or services. It’s literally a sign that you’re serious about your brand and business.

You gain instant credibility and legitimacy with a registered trademark in the United States. You’ve put your corporate flag in the sand, claimed the territory as your own for the world to see, and demonstrated that your brand and your company are for real.

While any business or individual who simply uses a mark in the public domain has some rights in the United States – which confers rights on a “first-to-use” basis rather than a “first-to-file” one, as noted above – these “common law” rights are limited and vulnerable to attack, especially with respect to legal action that may be necessary to guard against infringement, and do not offer the same presumption of nationwide validity afforded by a federally registered trademark.

  1. Becomes a Valuable Asset

How much do you think the registered trademarks of Nike, Coca-Cola, Hooters, and Starbucks are worth? As you can imagine, these trademarks are incredibly valuable assets. But your company doesn’t need to be big and well-known to derive tremendous value from the ownership of a registered trademark. As your company grows, so does the inherent value of your trademark, and the result of your ownership of one can be – and often is – a valuable asset.

  1. Helps Customers Find You

There’s a lot of competition and noise out there, which can make it very challenging for your prospective customers or clients to even find you. A  registered trademark – especially a  widely known one in your industry – makes it a lot easier to be recognized and located by the people and businesses that matter most. They remember your mark, Google it (if necessary), and contact you. That can generate a lot of business that otherwise would not have materialized.

  1. Facilitates International Registration

A federally-registered trademark provides invaluable protection in the United States that you can enforce in U.S. courts, but you’ll need to register your mark in other countries to gain international protection.

Fortunately, you can use your registered trademark in the United States as the basis for international registration. It greatly facilitates the process, especially if you file through the Madrid Protocol, an international treaty that allows registrants to file a single application that can then be applied to over 90 member countries. You may also file your U.S trademark in individual countries, if you prefer, through local counsel in each country.

In addition, if you file your international trademark applications within 6 months of your U.S. filing, the date that you registered your mark with the USPTO can become the priority date in other countries, too. This can deter others from registering your mark abroad, especially in countries (like China) where companies are known for filing bad faith registrations.

It’s Worth It

As you can see, the benefits of a federally registered trademark in the U.S. are substantial and far outweigh the fees for obtaining and maintaining one for any serious business.

Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of trademark registration in the United States, and to begin the process of protecting and strengthening yours.