There are many reasons why you should get a trademark registration for the names, logos, and taglines you use (or intend to use) in connection with the advertising and sale of your products or services. Personally, I like to think of a US trademark registration as an insurance policy. You purchase automobile insurance in case you’re involved in a car accident. You buy homeowners insurance in case your house goes up in flames. And you purchase health insurance in case you become seriously ill. Of course, you hope you never have to use your insurance policies, but you’re extremely glad you bought them if a tragedy or disaster does occur. Similarly, a trademark registration is like insurance on your trademark. It protects one of your most valuable business assets and assists you in recovering the monetary damages you’ll likely suffer as a result of an unexpected infringement or misappropriation by someone else.
Trademark Registration – Validity, Ownership, and Right to Use
A US trademark registration issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is prima facie evidence of (1) the validity of the registered trademark, (2) your ownership of the registered trademark, and (3) your exclusive 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 your trademark. They’re also quite valuable in the unfortunate event that you’re ever sued for trademark infringement.
Incontestability for Certain Trademarks
Another advantage of getting a US trademark registration is the ability for your trademark to become “incontestable.” A federally registered trademark that’s been in continuous use for five consecutive years after its registration date may become incontestable by filing a Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability (a “Section 15”). Once your trademark has achieved incontestable status, your trademark registration is conclusive evidence of the ownership, validity, and exclusive right to use your trademark in commerce. Essentially, incontestability makes your trademark very difficult for a third-party to challenge in litigation. However, please note that a trademark registered on the Supplemental Register (as opposed to the Principal Register) is ineligible for a Section 15.
US Trademark Registration Provides Worldwide Notice
Another reason to get a trademark registration is that it puts the entire world on notice of your trademark rights. The USPTO database is freely accessible to the general public. Although someone might not have had actual knowledge of your federal trademark rights before commencing use of a confusingly similar mark for similar or related products/services, that person could have performed a USPTO trademark search to find out whether your trademark was registered or not. This is called “constructive” notice of your US trademark registration, which is the equivalent of actual knowledge in the eyes of the law.
Registered Trademark Symbol
In addition, ownership of a US trademark registration allows you to use the ® registered trademark symbol. That symbol puts the world on actual notice of your federal trademark rights, and it can act as a strong deterrent to others who may be considering adopting an identical or confusingly similar mark.
International Protection of Your Trademark
In the event you want to stop counterfeit products bearing your trademark from entering into the United States, you can choose to record your trademark registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This will help prevent illegal importation because it gives the CBP the authority to seize and destroy infringing merchandise. Finally, a US trademark registration can be used as a basis for seeking protection of your trademark in dozens of foreign countries through the Madrid Protocol.
Contact Me About Trademark Registration
I’m experienced US trademark attorney Morris Turek. If you would like to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable trademark attorney about the many benefits of getting a US trademark registration, please do not hesitate to contact me for your free consultation at (314) 749-4059, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by simply completing my contact form (below). I look forward to hearing from you soon.