There are two Federal trademark registers in the United States: The Principal Register and the Supplemental Register.

The Principal Register entitles the Registrant to:

  • Online listing of the trademark in the USPTO’s TESS database
  • Priority over subsequent trademark applications filed with the USPTO
  • The right to use the “®” symbol
  • Prima facie evidence of the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark 
  • A presumption that the registrant is the true owner of the trademark.
  • The right to sue in federal court if the trademark is infringed upon.
  • The possibility to secure incontestable status after five years of registration.

The Supplemental Register also has many benefits including:

  • Online listing of the trademark in the USPTO’s TESS database
  • Priority over subsequent trademark applications filed with the USPTO
  • The right to use the “®” symbol
  • The right to sue in federal court if the trademark is infringed upon.

Why Register on the Supplemental Register?

Eligibility for Principal registration requires that certain criteria are met. For example, the trademarks cannot be descriptive of the underlying products or services, cannot include geographic terms, and cannot include a surname as the main feature of the trademark. However, the Supplemental Register is a great option for trademarks that may be difficult or impossible to register on the Principal Register. Some trademarks that are ineligible for principal registration may still qualify for the Supplemental Register, provided they are currently being used in commerce. A key benefit of the Supplemental Register is that the USPTO will consider the trademark against later applications that are confusingly similar. This benefit alone provides a lot of protection and makes the filing fees worth it in my opinion.

If you have questions about applying for a trademark contact us for a free phone consultation.

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