Federal Trademark Registration

You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark.    However, owning a Federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, including the following:

  • Constructive notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark;
  • A legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
  • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in Federal court;
  • The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
  • The ability to file the U.S. registration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the “TM” (trademark) or “SM” (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the Federal registration symbol “®” only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the Federal trademark registration.

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RAJ ABHYANKER, is the founding partner of LegalForce RAPC Worldwide. Raj is a winner of the American Bar Association Legal Rebel award, and the Fastcase 50 Legal Innovation Award. In addition, Raj was an economic policy adviser to the Chief Technology Officer of the United States White House for the America Invents Act, and invited speaker at the Association of California Bar Associations conference, and an invited speaker at the U.S. District Court (9th district) Judge Aiken conference on Innovations in Law, Science, & Technology. He has been quoted in the ABA Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Fox News, and Fast Company magazine.