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Nine Things You Need to Know about Trademark Registrations — Part II

If you've gotten a trademark registration from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, or are thinking about getting one, there are several things you should know. This is Part II in a three-part series about federal trademark registrations.

4. Marking Using the ® Symbol. Once you get a federal registration, you should begin using the mark with one of the three following registration notices: the ‘‘®’’ symbol, ‘‘Registered in U. S. Patent and Trademark Office,’’ or ‘‘Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.’’ Failure to do so will prevent you from recovering damages in a trademark infringement lawsuit from an infringer prior to his or her receipt of actual notice of your registration.

5. Rights Conferred by Registration. The registration of a mark is conclusive evidence of (1) the validity of the registered mark, (2) registration of the mark, (3) your ownership of the mark and (4) your exclusive right to use the mark in commerce. Although the mark is registered, it may be challenged during the initial five years of the term by anyone who believes that he or she will be damaged by your registration. Further, it can be challenged at any time if the mark becomes a generic name, if you abandon the mark by failing to use it, or if an opposer can successfully argue that the registration was otherwise illegal or fraudulent.

6. Duty of Enforcement. You have a duty to enforce your trademark rights against others who use your trademark, or a confusingly similar mark, in commerce. If you do not enforce your trademark rights against others in a timely fashion, you may lose the right to enforce the mark against those infringers. Furthermore, if the mark becomes generic, you will lose the right to enforce it against anyone. 

  • Immediately notify your trademark lawyer if you learn of other marks that are similar to yours and that may cause confusion with consumers or that may dilute the strength of your mark.
  • Monitoring. Your trademark lawyer should be able to arrange a monitoring service to watch for uses of or applications for other trademarks that may be similar to yours so you can timely enforce your rights.

 We'll conclude our three-part series on trademark registrations next week. Thanks for reading.