If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering whether federal trademark registration is necessary or even appropriate for your particular situation. A lot of folks believe that obtaining a United States trademark registration is always a wise thing to do under all circumstances. But, is it really?
There’s no doubt that businesses, organizations, and associations of all sizes can benefit greatly from obtaining a federal trademark registration for their most valuable trademarks. The extremely broad and long-lasting protections you receive by virtue of owning a federal trademark registration are unquestionably worth the significant monetary investment you’ll make in federally registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I’ve even prepared a brief summary of the benefits of USPTO trademark registration that you may wish to review.
Even taking into account all of these benefits and protections, there are still some situations where trademark registration would likely be lower on your priority list:
Local Use vs. Nationwide Use
For instance, if you happen to own a business that serves only your local area and you have no realistic plans to expand outside of your community, then securing a federal registration for your trademark is probably not something that would provide you with very much value. On the other hand, if you have dreams of growing and expanding your business into other cities, states, or even countries, then securing a US trademark registration is something you should strongly consider. In addition, if you plan to use the internet to advertise and sell your products or services, then acquiring a federal trademark registration is worth looking into because of the substantial amount of exposure that your trademark has on a website that is publicly accessible throughout the world.
The Risk of Seeking Federal Trademark Registration is Too High
Another reason why you might decide not to seek federal registration of your trademark is if there’s a high probability that another trademark owner will file a trademark opposition against your trademark application during the 30 day publication period. There are a handful of large and wealthy companies out there that engage in “trademark bullying.” They will do everything in their power to prevent the registration of trademarks that contain certain words or phrases regardless of whether consumer confusion is likely to arise. A trademark opposition can be outrageously expensive to defend and many smaller businesses and organizations simply do not have the resources to effectively deal with an opposition. Thankfully, a federal trademark search conducted by an experienced and knowledgeable trademark attorney will often reveal whether you can expect your trademark application to be opposed and whether it would be worth the expense and risk of filing an application in the first place.
A Trademark Search is Still Critical
Even if you decide that federal trademark registration is something you are not going to pursue at this point in time, it’s still critical that you perform a US trademark search prior to adopting and using your trademark in connection with your products or services. A trademark search will help to ensure that you’re not stepping on someone else’s trademark rights and will greatly reduce the risk of you being sued for trademark infringement. The bottom line is that while federal trademark registration may be optional in some cases, a trademark search is an important and necessary step when beginning a new venture.
Should I Consider Federal Trademark Registration?
As a US trademark attorney, I can provide you with more information about whether a federal trademark registration would benefit you. Please contact me today for your free consultation at (314) 749-4059, or I can be easily reached through my contact form (below) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon.