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Trademark Rights in the United States

Trademark rights in the United States arise in one of two ways:

  • by using a mark to market and sell products or services (use in US commerce); or

  • by filing an application to register a mark.

As soon as you start making sales under a trademark, you can gain “common law” rights in the mark. But the quality of “common law” rights may be quite limited. They are usually confined to the geographic territory where the owner sells goods or services—unlike rights under a federal trademark application or registration, which protect a mark nationwide.


State trademark registrations, which some local businesses use if their horizons are limited to one state, have no interstate impact. Relying on common law rights or on a state trademark registration will not cut it if your mark needs to cross state lines or expand overseas. Instead, you need the advantages of federal registration.


To learn more about the advantages of a federal trademark registration, please click here.


Get in touch today!

We understand that filing and registering a trademark in the United States can be daunting if you are not fully apprised of the process and requirements. Before taking the right steps, you might have a lot of questions because the idea of a trademark is to protect your business interest as well as maximize your revenue.


If you would like to know more about registering your trademark in the US, including searching for a trademark or responding to USPTO Office Actions, and would like us to help you, click here to write to us for a fee quote or schedule a short call with one of our trademark attorneys. For small businesses and startups, we offer special consultation rates. Get in touch with us today!

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