A valid trademark registration enables a business owner to protect the name, logo, symbol or design that distinguishes his or her goods and services from those of a competitor. The public identifies particular goods or services with a specific business through its trade marks and service marks. Because they reflect good will that the business has built for its products and services in the marketplace, trademarks and service marks are valuable business assets.
We represent New Jersey clients in securing federal and state trademark registrations. To discuss your trademark registration needs, contact our office online or call 888-342-2179.
The Importance of Trademark Registration
Trademark registration is important because it enables a business to secure its exclusive right to use the trade mark or service mark in advertising and promotion. A valid trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) provides legal rights that are important to the owner, the most significant of which is the uncontestable right to use the mark nationwide. A valid trademark registration is also required to record a trade mark with U.S. Customs in order block imports of counterfeit or infringing goods.
Trademark and Service Mark Owners Have Important Rights
A trademark registration provides the owner with exclusive nationwide protection for their use of the trade mark or service mark, excluding prior uses by unregistered users. Trademark rights can also be created by using a trade mark in commerce, which is known as a “common law” trademark. Trademarks and service marks may also be registered at the state level. Common law trademarks are enforceable in an area in which the owner establishes a market for its goods and services, but may also present a greater risk of a trademark infringement lawsuit.
State registered trademarks protect the owner’s rights only in the specific state in which the registration was made.
Once a trademark or service mark has been approved by the Patent and Trademark Office and used in commerce for five years, an affidavit of use is filed by the owner. After the affidavit of use has been filed, the trademark registration is deemed conclusive evidence of the ownership and trademarkability of the name, logo or design.
Constructive Notice is Provided With Trademark Registration
A trademark registration provides notice to potential competitors and prevents infringement. The trademark registration is available on the principal registry of the PTO. The owner of a registered trademark may recover statutory damages and reasonable attorneys fees for violations of their trademark rights.
Damages are available to the trademark owner in the case of counterfeiting of as much as $200,000 per mark per type of goods that were sold, distributed or offered for sale. Damages of up to $2,000,000 may be available for an intentional or willful use of the registered trademark.