Cleveland, Ohio. Trademarks serve two purposes. They protect the reputation of the person or company providing goods and services by helping to ensure that the mark is only going to be associated with their product, and they protect the consumer by allowing him or her to associate the product with a person or company they already know.
The owner of a trademark may establish rights in that mark whether or not it is registered with the USPTO; however, registration gives the owner several rights:
- The public is deemed to have notice of your mark.
- Courts will “presume” that you own the mark and have exclusive rights to it in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration. (The person or entity accused of infringement will have to overcome this “presumption.” )
- You may sue in federal court.
- You may use the US registration to extend the registration to other countries.
- You have additional means to prevent the importation of infringing goods.
One may use “TM” for a trademark and “SM” for a service mark to let others know of your claim to the mark whether or not you have registered the mark with the USPTO. The ® symbol, however, is reserved for marks that have actually been registered.
Do you need assistance with a trademark or other intellectual property? Walters & Wasylyna can help–give us a call.
Gary L. Walters is a partner at Walters & Wasylyna. He focuses on civil (business) litigation and intellectual property disputes. Walters & Wasylyna is a litigation, intellectual property, and patent boutique.