After your trademark has been registered, you will have legal ownership that gives you the right to protect your trademark against companies that infringe on your trademark and also against the importation of products that infringe your trademark rights. If you find that your trademark rights have been infringed by a domestic company, the best strategy is to contact a trademark specialized attorney, because, depending on the situation, the right legal approach may differ significantly.
Establishing Trademark Rights
You obtain your trademark rights by:
- Using your trademark in your commercial activity or
- Filing a trademark registration application to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and also using your trademark in the commercial activity within the amount of time indicated.
You don’t need to register with the USPTO if you want to establish trademark rights, you can do that just by using your trademark in your commercial activity. Registering with the USPTO helps you secure a legal ground for obtaining registration in foreign countries and prevent importation of infringing foreign products. It also helps you to sue in the federal court any eventual infringes and it serves as an evidence of ownership.
A trademark involves two types of rights:
- the right to register the trademark and
- the right to use it.
The general rule regarding the right to register is that the first person or entity to use a trademark in the commercial activity has the ultimate right to register the trademark. When it comes to the right to use, the decision can be taken only by a court, but a federal registration offers a significant advantage in court when usage rights are being decided.