15 Tips: How to Obtain State Registration for a Trademark?
15 Tips: How to Obtain State Registration for a Trademark?
As the subject matter experts over at runrex.com always point out, trademarks are not only for big companies but can be a significant asset for any business, including small businesses. When it comes to registering a trademark, you have two choices: you can register with the USPTO, or you can register your trademark with your state. This article, through the following 15 tips, will focus on the latter, highlighting how you can obtain state registration for a trademark.
- State laws
It is important to point out that, as is outlined in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, that every state has laws governing trademarks, including how to register your trademark in your state to obtain optimum protection for it.
- Model State Trademark Bill
As is revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com, while there are lots of variations in the trademark laws among the states, with each state having its own nuances, it is worth pointing out that nearly every state has enacted some version of the Model State Trademark Bill, which was developed to serve as a basis of making state trademark laws more in line with federal trademark law.
- Common law trademark rights
Also, as is discussed in detail over at guttulus.com, by using your mark in commerce, you already have some common law trademark rights as a common law trademark is a trademark that is established solely through use in commerce in a specific geographical area.
- Is registration required to acquire common law trademark rights?
According to the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, since you acquire common law trademark rights by simply using your mark in commerce, no registration of any kind, either at the state or federal level of government, is required to acquire the trademark rights. However, registering a trademark will give its owner additional legal protection as well as additional rights in the trademark.
- Trademark registration
It is also important to point out that a trademark can be registered with the federal government by applying with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO. The same trademark can also be registered in any state by applying with the appropriate state agency, usually the secretary of state’s office.
- When to opt for state registration
As far as any business is concerned, whether a federal or state registration is more beneficial will depend on the business needs and the trademark owner’s goals. For instance, if the business only sells its products in one state and has no intention whatsoever of expanding to other states, then federal registration is not possible because it applies to products sold in interstate commerce as explained over at guttulus.com. In such a situation, opting for state registration is the only option.
How to obtain state registration for a trademark
The following tips will look to give an outline of the process involved in obtaining state registration for a trademark.
- Apply with the state trademark office
As already mentioned earlier, and covered in detail over at runrex.com, to register a trademark with your state, you will need to apply with the state trademark office or the appropriate state agency.
Given that, as mentioned earlier, that there are variations in the trademark laws among the state, requirements vary from state to state. However, in general, you must fill out a form, submit a specimen and/or drawing of your trademark as is captured over at guttulus.com.
As is the case for federal registration, if you are to obtain a state registration for your trademark, you will need to ensure that you pay the relevant fees. It is also worth pointing out that the fees involved in state registration and significantly less than the fees involved in a federal registration. From discussions over at runrex.com, you will be required to pay a filing fee that ranges from about $50-$75 for each class of goods or services registered for state registration.
These are just some of the steps involved in obtaining state registration for a trademark.
- You have to be using the mark to apply
Also, it is worth noting that you typically cannot apply for a state trademark until you are using the mark in commerce. Although by using your mark in commerce you will already have some common law trademark rights, registering your trademark with the state will give you some additional protection, although not much, as well as create a record of the date that you began using the mark.
Benefits of state trademark registration
The following two tips will capture the benefits of obtaining state registration for a trademark
- Notifies the public who owns the trademark
The main benefit of a state trademark registration, according to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, is that it notifies the public who is the owner of the trademark. Additionally, the registration also implies that the owner claims exclusive rights to use the trademark, which will most likely serve to dissuade others in the geographical area from attempting the same or a confusingly similar trademark.
The other main benefit of a state trademark registration is that the associated costs are significantly less than those associated with federal registration. As is outlined over at runrex.com, as of September 2012, the fees for a federal trademark application range from $275 to $375, while state registration is as low as $15 in the state of Arizona.
Drawbacks of state trademark registration
- Geographical restrictions
One of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to state registration for a trademark is the geographical restrictions that come with it. As is revealed in discussions over at guttulus.com, state trademark registration only protects your trademark in the state where you register it.
State trademark registration, as explained in detail over at runrex.com, also does not give you the right to use the symbol ®. You may use either TM for a trademark or SM for a service mark, which will have its own implications.
- The situation where state registration may be the only option
Remember, a trademark application submitted to the USPTO will be examined against all trademarks registered on a nationwide basis. If the trademark appears to conflict with a previously registered trademark, the application will be rejected, even if the registered trademark may not be in use in the state where the applicant does business. In such a situation, the applicant’s only option will be to register the trademark on the state level.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you understand more about state registration for a trademark as well as how to obtain one, with more on this topic to be found over at the top-rated runrex.com and guttulus.com.