You’ve spent hours upon hours developing the perfect logo for your company. You have researched what colors say about your business to ensure that you are portraying the image you want to your customers and even tested multiple taglines until you found the right one. You created the perfect packaging that’s unique to your product. After all of the time, money, sweat and tears you put into developing the perfect mark for your company the one thing you didn’t do was register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Not that you over looked it. You did your research and learned that you don’t have to register your trademark; it’s yours once you start using it so why spend the money right? Wrong! While you don’t have to register your mark there are some benefits that you only receive by having a registered trademark.
Protection From Infringers Throughout The United States
Unlike common law trademarks, federally register trademarks protect you from would be infringers throughout United States. This means that if your company is based in Virginia and there is someone in London is using the internet to sell products to their clients in the Florida that bear your registered mark you can send the infringer a cease and desist letter. This protection is great for those companies looking to expand in the future. Meanwhile a common law trademark only limits the use of your mark in the geographical area that you are using your mark. If you choose to expand using a common law trademark you risk the possibility of someone registering your mark before you and being limited to your current area.
The Federal Registered Trademark Can Be The Basis Of A Foreign Trademark
Speaking of expanding, when you plan to sell your product or services in other countries having a registered trademark can be very beneficial. Having a federal registered trademark can be the basis for obtaining an international trademark. You can use the filing date of your federal application as the priority date on an international trademark application even if you have not began selling your goods or services in that country. The priority date gives you priority over applications that are likely to cause confusion if filed after yours. This can protect you from infringers who want to take advantage of your success in the states by registering your mark in other countries.
Revenue For Your Company
“If this business were split up, I would give you the land and the bricks, and I would take the brands and trademarks and I would fare better than you.” – John Stuart, Chairman of Quaker Oats (ca. 1900)
Your brand has financial value. The value comes from a cycle, which begins with creating an exceptional product. Being associated with said exceptional product, which results in customer loyalty and translates to revenue. See this article to learn more about the financial power of your trademark.
Possible Statutory Damages Which Means You Won’t Have To Prove Damages In The Case Of Counterfeiting
Let’s face it counterfeiting is big money for some folks and cost businesses millions of dollars each year. By registering your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office you may receive special damages in addition to actual damages and attorney fees. By law a court can award damages in the amount of $500 and $100,000 per counterfeit good sold. If the court finds that the sale was willful then damages can be awarded up to $1,000,000.
The Use Of The Trademark ® Which Serves As Notice That Your Mark Is Registered And Cannot Be Used Without Your Permission
Only marks that have been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can use the ®. The ® provides comfort to your customers by letting them the product they purchased is made by your standards. It also serves as notice to would be counterfeiters that your mark is off limits and that they may be liable for damages for unauthorized use.
The Right To Sue In Federal Court
Okay here is a quick lesson regarding federal jurisdiction. Federal courts are very limited in the kind of cases they can hear. When you register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office you join the elite few who have the privilege of bring lawsuits in federal court. You can read more about federal jurisdiction here.
Interested in discussing how your business can obtain a registered trademark, contact our office.
 Lanham Act 15 U.S.C §1117(c), Lanham Act Section 35(c).
 Other cases that are heard in federal court are cases where the United States is a party, cases that involve violation of federal law or U.S. Constitution, or cases where the parties are from different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.