State trademark registration is relatively quick and inexpensive, while federal trademark registration is more complex and costs more. However, federal registration offers far more protection. Before you decide which is best for you, it’s important to understand the differences.
Some points to remember about registering a state trademark:
State trademark registration only protects your trademark in the state where its registered.
Registering a trademark with the state is less expensive than registering with the USPTO. You will typically save at least $200 for each registration.
A state trademark registration normally can be processed and approved more quickly than a federal one.
State trademark registration does not give you the right to use the symbol ®. You may use either TM for a trademark or SM for a service mark.
The benefits of federal trademark registration include:
Registration creates a legal presumption that you own the trademark and have the right to use it nationwide for the class of goods or services identified in your registration.
Federal registration is superior to state registration. If a federally registered trademark was in use before a state registered trademark, the federal registrant can stop the state trademark owner from using the mark. If the state mark was in use first, the mark’s use may be restricted to the state where it was registered.
You can notify others of your trademark rights by using the ® symbol.
You can file a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court.
You can register a trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service to prevent infringing products from being imported.
You can use your USPTO trademark registration as a basis for obtaining foreign trademark registrations.
Your trademark will be listed in the USPTO’s database. This creates a public record of your mark and may help deter others from using it.
You can file an application for a mark that you intend to use but are not using yet, though the mark will not actually be registered until you begin using it.
Registering a trademark helps you protect your brand and your intellectual property. While federal registration offers many more benefits, you might choose state registration instead if you are short on funds and don’t ever plan to do business outside your state of registration. If you are unsure which is best, a trademark attorney can help you decide. Please feel free to contact Martindale Legal Services, LLC to offer assistance in registering your trademark.