Some companies choose not to register for a trademark. Companies are not required to have a federally registered trademark, but they will lose significant benefits and protections if they do not register. Here are five important considerations of what can occur when you don’t file for a federal trademark.
First, you won’t have broad trademark protection.
A federally registered trademark provides you with trademark protection across the entire United States. By not registering for a trademark, companies have limited trademark rights, known as “common law rights,” which provide narrow protection only in a small area in which you have conducted business.
Second, you will not have the Ability to Sue in Federal Court for Trademark Infringement.
Federal trademark registration allows you to sue other companies that you believe are infringing on your trademark. By not registering for a federal trademark, you lose the ability to sue in federal court.
When you sue for trademark infringement in federal court, you may be entitled to a court order that precludes another company from using your trademark, as well as monetary relief.
Third, You Might Be Accused of Trademark Infringement!
Nobody wants to receive a cease and desist letter -- or worse, go to court -- for trademark infringement.
By not registering for a federal trademark, however, you do not have the legal presumption of the validity and ownership of your trademark, or the exclusive right to use your trademark nationwide. Therefore, you are more vulnerable to other companies claiming that you have infringed on their trademark rights.
Fourth, You Cannot Use the Registered Trademark Symbol.
In addition to receiving a registration certificate from the USPTO, owners of federally registered trademarks have the right to use the trademark registration symbol in connection with their goods and services. If you do not have a federally registered trademark, you cannot use this symbol.
The registered trademark symbol allows consumers to know that the trademark is federally registered. It means that the owner of the mark has all of the benefits of federal trademark protection, including legal presumption of the validity and ownership of the trademark or service mark, the exclusive right to use the trademark or service mark nationwide, and the ability to sue in federal court for trademark infringement.