Once a Federal registration is issued, the registrant may give notice of registration by using the ® symbol, or the phrase "Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office" or "Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off." Although it is not required, prior to registration many trademark owners use a TM or SM (if the mark identifies a service) symbol to indicate a claim of ownership, even if no Federal trademark application is pending.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Benefits of Registration
While Federal registration is not necessary for trademark protection, registration on the Principal Register does provide certain advantages:
- The right to sue in Federal court for trademark infringement.
- Recovery of profits, damages and costs in a Federal court infringement action and the possibility of treble damages and attorneys' fees.
- Constructive notice of a claim of ownership (which eliminates a good faith defense for a party adopting the trademark subsequent to the registrant's date of registration).
- The right to deposit the registration with Customs in order to stop the importation of goods bearing an infringing mark.
- Prima facie evidence of the validity of the registration, registrant's ownership of the mark and of registrant's exclusive right to use the mark in commerce in connection with the goods or services specified in the certificate.
- The possibility of incontestability, in which case the registration constitutes conclusive evidence of the registrant's exclusive right, with certain limited exceptions, to use the registered mark in commerce.
- Limited grounds for attacking a registration once it is five years old.
- Availability of criminal penalties in an action for counterfeiting a registered trademark.
- A basis for filing trademark applications in foreign countries.