Could Your Business Benefit From a Federal Trademark Registration?
Trademarks are often the most valuable piece of a business’s intellectual property portfolio. For example, consider the marketing value of the marks Coca-Cola® and the Nike swoosh. The potential tremendous marketing value of trademarks combined with substantial legal benefits make obtaining a federal trademark registration a wise move for most businesses.
A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, product shape, logo or other identifier which distinguishes a business’s goods and services from those made or sold by another. Certain trademark rights attach when a business uses even an unregistered trademark to distinguish it’s goods or services. However, those rights are generally limited in scope to the business’s geographic region such that any future expansive use of the trademark can be blocked by a later user of the trademark or even an applicant of a federal trademark registration who has an intent to use the mark in the United States. In contrast, the federal trademark statute prescribes nationwide rights to federally registered trademark owners, allowing those trademark owners to enforce their trademark rights against any later user of the trademark and anywhere in the United States. This effectively creates the opportunity for relatively unfettered future expansive use of the trademark.
Additional benefits of federal trademark registrations include increased damage awards for willful infringement of registered trademarks, constructive notice to all competitors that the owner of the trademark has the right to use the mark throughout the United States, access to federal courts for litigation involving federally registered trademarks, and the right to use the symbol ®, which can deter potential infringers.
Attorneys at Woodard, Emhardt have extensive experience helping both large and small businesses secure and protect their trademark rights. Please contact us for more information on the benefits of federal trademark registrations and how you can obtain them.