Yes, you can register a trademark in your state. Indeed, even if you register a trademark at the federal level, there are some advantages to registering your trademark in states where you do business. In this article, the skilled and top-rated Trademark Attorneys at Revision Legal discuss some of the advantages of registering a trademark at the state level. If you are searching for the “best Trademark lawyers near me,” call us at 231-714-0100 or 855-473-8474.
In the U.S., for the first 150 years or so of the nation, trademark rights were protected by state laws. Federal trademark protection only began in the early 1900s. Despite the new federal trademark laws, many states retained their old laws, and most states have a mechanism for registering trademarks that apply to companies doing business within their state. Registering a trademark at the state level is not without cost and expense. Thus, if you can obtain a federal trademark registration, it is probably not cost-effective to register the same trademark in 50 states. However, there are some circumstances where a strategy of state-level registration is important.
First, some trademarks cannot be immediately placed on the federal Principal Register. These trademarks will be placed on the Supplemental Register. It takes about two years for a trademark on the Supplemental Register to be eligible for an upgrade to the Principal Register. During that time, there is value in registering such a trademark at the state level, particularly in those states where the company does substantial business. The combination of having your trademark on the Supplemental Register and registered at the state level provides the maximum legal protection for your trademark.
Second, some trademarks cannot be registered at the federal level because the company only operates locally within a state. In those circumstances, registering a trademark at the state level is essential to establish priority of use against competitors. Further, time is afforded while your company makes efforts to operate in interstate commerce.
Third, some trademarks cannot be registered at the federal level for legal reasons. Currently, the main examples are cannabis businesses. Since cannabis remains unlawful at the federal level, such businesses cannot register federal trademarks. Thus, state-level registration is crucial. Such registration protects cannabis-related trademarks and creates priority-of-use for an eventual attempt at federal registration (assuming a future change in federal law).
Finally, even if you have a fully-protected federal trademark registration, there is value in having trademark registrations in at least a few states. For example, any competitor seeking to cancel your trademark will need to seek cancellation at the federal and state level. Further, if, for whatever reason, your federal registration lapses, your trademark is still legally protected by state-level registrations.
Contact the Trademark Attorneys at Revision Legal