Common Law Trademark Right Attorney Charlottesville, VA
When you are looking to trademark a mark in a specific geographical area, a common law trademark right attorney in Charlottesville, VA will likely recommend a common law trademark. These types of marks include business names, logos, and phrases that are regularly used even though they have not been federally registered. The rights associated with these marks are geographically limited and not easily enforced as in the case of a federal trademark.
Federal Registration Versus Common Law Trademarks
As an IP attorney Charlottesville, VA offers will tell you, common law marks can be obtained by using the desired mark associated with your business or product. There is no application process and no fees for attaining the mark. In other words, they are very easy to obtain. Enforcing these marks is more of a challenge. While an owner can prevent local parties from using similar marks, that authority is limited in terms of geographics.
Federally registered trademarks have obvious advantages over common law trademarks; however, there are instances in which the latter will prevail. This is most common when the common law mark has a proven first-use date. If this can be demonstrated, it might supersede a federal trademark’s rights in certain regions. Common law trademarks might also add difficulties to a federal application, especially when there was a failure to search and clear the mark during the application process. For example, the search process should include business filing searchers, social media searches, industry specific searches, and more. To ensure a full search is conducted, most applicants will hire a common law trademark right attorney in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Understanding the Geographical Implications
One of the most important elements to know about common law trademarks is the restrictions that may apply. For example, if you own a hair salon in Virginia under the same name for several years, common law rights will prevent other salons from opening under the same name in your area. However, someone could use the same name in a different state or area (as long as you didn’t have a branch there). Although that might not affect your business, it could affect your online presence, online sales, or social media reputation – especially if your clients are confused about which salon is right (or original). A federal trademark registration would add extra protection and more rights for you and your company. If you are concerned about the potential geographical implications, you should consult with a common law trademark right attorney in Charlottesville, VA.
Can A Common Law Trademark Be Protected?
There are basic protections for common law trademarks; however, this exists primarily at the local level. There are little to no regional or national restrictions or enforcement rights; thus, common law trademarks are typically not an ideal long term solution. The only way to absolutely protect your mark is to register it with the USPTO. If you are serious about building a brand, investing in a federally protected trademark should become a priority. In addition to using the ™ symbol, the Ⓡ symbol can also be used. Both provide the right to sue infringers and can aid in the ability to recover compensation should litigation occur. It also discourages other parties from using the same or similar mark. Furthermore, investors tend to hold intellectual property portfolios in high regard.
The only want to strengthen your common law trademark is to register it with the USPTO. If you would like to take your mark to the next level, call a common law trademark right attorney in Charlottesville, VA from Dale Jensen, PLC.