Back to News

The Business of Trademarks: Part 1

Published on

August 21, 2017

You’re a small business owner from central Pennsylvania on vacation in Helena, Montana. You’re on your way to your campsite and look up to notice a billboard, one of the hundreds you’ll see while on your trip. However, this one catches your eye. This billboard is for a regional Montana company using the trademark you have been using with your business for years. They are even using a logo that looks eerily similar to the one you have used to associate the goodwill of your business.

Should you be concerned? Is there more that you could have done to protect how you distinguish your business from others?

Even though you think there may not be a market for a brand or logo you have designed outside of your geographic area, be warned – there probably is or will be.

The best way to guard against this and protect your brand is through a federal registration.

Trademark: Expand Your Right to Sue through Registration

The first person to use a trademark in connection with specific goods or services preserves a common law right to prevent any unauthorized use of that mark with similar goods or services. However, federally registering your mark with the United States Patent & Trademark Office provides more protection than established under common law. In fact, an unregistered mark may only protect use of your mark within a specific geographical area, while a federal registration provides exclusive right to use of that mark nationally.

If your mark lacks federal registration, the ability to enforce your rights through legal proceedings may therefore be limited. In fact, a registration not only provides constructive notice of the mark to infringers, but provides right to sue in federal court as to ownership of the mark. Federally registering your mark also provides more remedies available against infringing parties, such as the ability to recover up to triple damages and attorney’s fees for any willful violations.

The rights established from a federal registration can last indefinitely, as long as the owner continues active use of the mark. Registering your trademark provides a bundle of exclusive rights that are otherwise not available through common law use of the mark, making it a must for any business owner with an exclusive design or brand.

If you have any questions on trademark protection, please contact me or any of the attorneys in Barley Snyder’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.


Related News

View More News
Newsletter
February 23, 2024

Barley Snyder 2023 Year In Review

Check out what the professionals of Barley Snyder have been up to in 2023 a...

Learn More
Press Release
February 22, 2024

Barley Snyder Partner Jeremy Frey Admitted to Practice in Maryland

For Immediate Release  Hanover, Pa. – Barley Snyder is pleased ...

Learn More
Press Release
February 13, 2024

Barley Snyder Attorney Natalie Alexander Admitted to Adams County Bar Association

For Immediate Release Gettysburg, Pa. – Barley Snyder is pleased to annou...

Learn More

Other Upcoming Events

View All Upcoming Events
Apr
10
12:00 pm
-
6:00 pm
event
Location

LendiCon 2024

Learn More
May
10
8:00 am
-
5:00 pm
event
Location

41st Annual Employment Law Seminar

Learn More

Get in Touch

Our attorneys, paralegals and staff look forward to hearing from you. Please reach out to let us know how we can help.

Get In Touch
RECOGNIZED IN
Super Lawyers
Best Law Firms US News
Best Lawyers