Why should I file a federal trademark registration?

For something to function as a trademark, it is not necessary to have a federal registration, so why should you apply for one? Well, the protection’s the thing.

Using your business name to sell products might make you a known entity in your neighborhood or local market, but when a similar business from out of town searches the USPTO database for a name they are thinking of trademarking, yours will not show up. If, seeing that there are no obvious registered trademarks standing in their way, they decide to seek registration, yours will not be cited by an examining attorney. If their name comes up first in an internet search for a customer wishing to buy products from you, they may assume you are affiliated and purchase from them instead. And if this business, now with a registered trademark, comes upon your business and sees that your name is the same, this could be the beginning of a long and costly battle over priority use. How can you enforce your trademark rights if you haven’t laid claim to them?

That’s what registration with the USPTO does. It plants a flag on your trademark, claiming it for your industry. Now, when a competing business thinks they’ve come up with the Best Name Ever, a quick search of the USPTO database, or an Office Action from an examining attorney, will let them know you thought of it – and thought to register it – first.

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