You acquire legal rights to a trademark if you are the first to use the mark in commerce. These rights are referred to as common law rights. However, to assure you maintain nationwide protection you should acquire a trademark registration. Registering your trademark provides many benefits. The cardinal benefit is protecting your investment and preventing the need to change your name. A federal trademark registration on the principal register provides:
- Exclusive nationwide rights to the trademark for the goods/services listed.
- A legal presumption of your ownership.
- Public notice of your claim to use the trademark.
- The ability to bring an action in federal court.
- The right to use the federal registration symbol, ®.
- The ability to list your goods with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.
- The opportunity to use your registration as a basis for foreign trademark registration.
- The ability to collect triple the amount of damages for intentional infringement.
- The ability to collect attorney fees in infringement actions.
- Deterrence to third-parties from adopting your trademark.
- The ability to file for incontestability status after five years.
For most businesses nationwide protection of your trademark is more than a need it’s a necessity. If you haven’t already applied for US trademark registration you should consider discussing your situation with an attorney to determine whether you need to apply.