Aceto, Bonner & Cole PC

The benefits of federally registering a trademark

January 28, 2017
  • Michael S. Bonner
  • Gregory J. Aceto
  • Michael B. Cole

When businesses develop a trademark, it may be beneficial to have that mark federally registered for protection.

Once company owners in Massachusetts or across the nation have developed a name, logo, phrase or symbol to represent their business, product or line of products, they may want to consider protecting that mark from their competitors. Registering a trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office may be a company's best option when it comes to protecting a mark from being used by other companies. While common law protection begins when a company first uses a mark in commerce, it does not cover the owner if he or she needs to engage in court litigation. If another company in a similar industry uses a logo or mark that may confuse customers and be mistaken as another business's mark, the company that originally used the mark is considered the owner through common law. However, there are situations where business owners lose their mark because they failed to register it with the federal government.

Obtaining exclusive ownership of a mark

Although a mark does have a certain level of protection under common law, federally registering a mark through the USPTO gives a company exclusive ownership of a trademark. Once a registration application is approved, the company has sole rights to use the mark on their business and/or products without fear of legal repercussion. Companies with registered trademarks are responsible, however, for monitoring their trademarks through the federal registry. If they should find a company that is using a mark that is similar to theirs, they may submit a cease and desist order to the infringing company.\

Importing and exporting trademarked products

Business owners who want to export their products to foreign markets should have their trademark registered through the federal government. Furthermore, a registered mark that is listed with the United States Customs Office has rights when it comes to importing products that have similar trademarks. For example, if a foreign company wants to sell a product in the United States, that company cannot have a logo, name or symbol that is too similar to a trademark that is federally registered by an American company.

Partnering with an attorney

When you are forced to make crucial decisions regarding your business, it could seem overwhelming. It may help to partner with a knowledgeable attorney in Massachusetts who understands both state and federal intellectual property laws. Not only are they able to guide your decisions, but they may help to uncover certain legal options that you have.

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