What Are Trademark Benefits?
Even though a business or individual acquires trademark rights by actual use of the trademark in commerce – not by registering the trademark with the USPTO – there are several important trademark benefits in holding a federal trademark registration on the USPTO Principal Register.
Nationwide Trademark Priority
Obtaining nationwide priority in a registered trademark gives the trademark owner protection nationwide instead of limiting the protection to the geographic area in which the trademark is being used in association with the product and/or service. Nationwide trademark priority is one of the most important advantages in having a federally registered trademark. If a business or business owner achieves federal registration, that business or business owner may prevent a prior user from expanding his or her business to new jurisdictions. Nationwide priority is a valuable federal trademark benefit.
Once a trademark is federally registered for five years, the owner may apply for incontestability status for the trademark. If this status is granted, challenges against that trademark for confusing similarity; functionality; or lack of secondary meaning by other individuals or business owners are eliminated.
Automatic Right To Sue In Federal Court
Having a federally registered trademark makes it much easier to sue in federal court. The district courts of the United States have proper jurisdiction to hear cases involving all federally registered trademarks.
Ability To Recover Money
In a trademark infringement case, federal trademark registration makes it possible to recover damages three times the amount of actual damages and recover attorney’s fees. A federally registered trademark makes it possible to recover the maximum amount of damages available.
Use Of The ® Symbol
Use of the federal trademark registration symbol, ® (circled R), is only permissible for federally registered trademarks. Using the circle R gives constructive notice to all competitors in the marketplace that the trademark is claimed as an exclusive right. This means that a defendant in a trademark infringement case cannot claim that his or her infringement was innocent.
Deters Others From Using Your Trademark
Deterrence comes in two ways: (1) the USPTO must refuse to grant federal registration to a confusingly similar trademark, and (2) you trademark will appear on trademark searches when another individual attempts to use a trademark similar to yours. Entrepreneurs and businesses want to avoid expensive, drawn out lawsuits, so having a registered trademark will let the trademark owner of the trademark, with exclusive right to to the use of the trademark, be known.
Advantages In Court
A trademark registration certificate from the USPTO proves three things: (1) shows that the trademark is valid, (2) identifies the valid trademark and the product and/or service the trademark protects, and (3) continuous use of the trademark in interstate commerce. This avoids the costs of producing documents that show a business or individual has been using the trademark in interstate commerce and proving that the trademark is not generic, descriptive, or confusingly similar to another trademark.
Registration In Foreign Countries Using U.S. Priority Date
If a business or business owner has a federally registered trademark and would like to expand internationally, the member nations of the Madrid Protocol make obtaining trademark rights much easier to obtain in the member nations. A trademark application for foreign trademark protection using the Madrid Protocol allows the trademark owner to file a single application and simply state which countries he or she would like to apply for protection in.