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  • Writer's pictureMichael W. Schroeder

Trademark Law In The US And Why You Should Register Your Trademark

Trademark Law in The USA

United States law protected trademarks as early as the colonial times under what is known as common law trademark rights. However, it was not until 1870 that Congress decided to design a federal trademark regime for the first time. The regulatory authority for trademark registrations is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) that follows the Lanham Act for all trademark matters.

Both state and federal laws administer trademarks. State common law provides trademark protection solely within the individual states.However, federal trademark law is now the main trademark protection source to secure one’s mark across the entire United States and all of its territories. The Trademark Act, 1946 is the predominant federal statute, which is also known as the Lanham Act. It classifies most of the existing trademark common laws. The USPTO manages all the regulations associated with the federal registration of patents and trademarks in the country.

You can obtain trademark rights by registering your mark with the USPTO. Alternatively, you can also get these rights simply by using the mark in U.S. commerce for the first time. This is protected by the common and statute law at the state level. However, these common law rights only extend to the specific geographic locations in which the mark has been lawfully used in connection with the provision of goods and/or services. To make the best out of your mark and receive the greatest protection and most benefits, you must register it with the USPTO. You will then be entitled to use the ® symbol.

It is also pertinent to mention here that trademark rights can also be wasted by genericide, improper licensing, abandonment, or improper assignment. If a trademark use is licensed without keeping adequate guidance or adequate quality control by the owner in mind, the trademark is canceled. In the same vein, if a trademark’s rights are assigned in gross to another party without the sale of any corresponding assets, the trademark is again canceled. Genericide refers to the drop of the distinctiveness of a trademark over time when it becomes generic, thereby falling outside the trademark protection arena.

It is noteworthy that trademark rights should be maintained by the trademark owner through its lawful use from time to time, or the owner will cease to have any rights to the said mark. If the registered owners of the mark fail to enforce their registration if/when infringement occurs, the registration might become liable due to “non-use” of the mark.

How To Register A Trademark In The United States

To register a trademark in the country, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Conduct A Trademark Search In The Country

It is recommended to conduct a trademark search before registering the mark to ensure that your trademark application for registration is available. A trademark can be images, numbers, words, etc. The report that is given to the applicant includes an assessment from a certified lawyer who is trained in trademark law. It will also contain the risk of a trademark fight over previously registered marks and details of the registrability of the mark.

Step 2: Trademark Application

The trademark is then prepared for its application to the USPTO. If you get your trademark registered through a competent law firm like Trademark.Legal, the process is likely to go smoothly.

Step 3: Approval Of The Application

Once all the documents are filed completely, and the application has been submitted, Trademark.Legal transfers the application for registration to the trademark examining authority. The USPTO Examinerthen examines the application and verifies its uniqueness. It must be noted that the process of approval or denial might take a couple of months.

Step 4: Publication

Once the trademark registration application is approved, it is published in the Official Trademark Gazette for opposition. During this time, third parties that take issue with the registration of your mark may challenge your application at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) through a formal Opposition Proceeding. Oppositions are full litigation proceedings before the Board that mostly follow the same rules as federal litigation. If your mark is opposed, it is imperative you contact a qualified attorney to represent you in defense of your registration. If no third parties oppose your trademark during the 30 days post-publication, your application will be allowed to proceed.

Step 5: Notice Of Allowance Or The Registration Certificate Issue

On the resolution of all the oppositions and issues, the USPTO finally issues the applicant a Certificate of Registration for applications based on use, or a Notice of Allowance for applications based on a bona fide intent to use. For applications based on an intent-to-use, applicants will have six months from the Notice of Allowance issuance date in which to submit a Statement of Use, verifying use in U.S. interstate commerce, before the application may proceed to register.

Advantages Of Trademark Registration In The US

Federal registration legally protects your mark across the entire United States and all its territories and controls other entities from using marks that are confusingly similar to yours. Federal registration further serves to put others on notice of your rights in the mark, which can be easily located by a simple trademark availability search, thereby discouraging others from attempting to adopt the mark for themselves. This helps to stop the possibility of any infringement before it even begins.

Since the Trademark Office thoroughly checks and verifies the authenticity and uniqueness of your mark before issuing you a Certificate of Registration, you essentially get the protection of the US government to help avoid infringement without any extra cost to you.

You get the right to use the recognized ® symbol for your mark when it is used for the services and/or goods mentioned in the registration. This gives your products a good marketing cachet. It also informs your competitors that you are serious when it comes to persevering your rights.

Trademark.Legal Can Help You Register Your Trademark

Trademark.Legal is an experienced and renowned law firm in Los Angeles County, California. We help individuals and businesses develop, grow, protect as well as enforce their trademark and intellectual property rights competently. Our experienced trademark attorneys represent you through premium legal trademark counsel at cost-effective prices. You can count on our team to offer you all kinds of trademark prosecution and protection services domestically and across the world.

Get in touch with us to help you with your USPTO trademark applications for a smooth and hassle-free approval process. Call us on 323-553-1541 or write to us at for a consultation!

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