By: Jeffrey G. Sheldon, Esq.

There are many advantages to registering a trademark (which also includes servicemarks) with the U.S. Trademark Office. If a business has a protectable mark, we almost always recommend registration.

There are two types of registration available in the United States: registration on the Principal Register and registration on the Supplemental Register.  The Principal Register is for fanciful, arbitrary, and suggestive marks, as well as descriptive terms and surnames that have acquired distinctiveness, also known as secondary meaning.  The Supplemental Register is for descriptive terms and surnames that do not have secondary meaning. The following chart presents representative benefits of both types of federal trademark registration:

A Dozen Benefits of Federal Trademark Registration:

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As this chart reveals, there are significant advantages to a registration on the Principal Register as compared to a registration on the Supplemental Register.  So our goal is a registration on the principal register.  There is a presumption that a mark that was not sufficiently distinctive for registration on the principal register is distinctive after five years of continuous and exclusive use.  Thus for marks registered only on the supplemental register, we recommend applying for registration on the principal register after there has been five years of the continuous and exclusive use.

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