Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Protecting a trademark by using it or by registering it

When it comes to a New York company's trademarks, protecting them is one of the company's top priorities. Large companies have more resources when it comes to protecting this intellectual property, but smaller businesses also need to safeguard them. A trademark can be protected by either using it or registering it.

Using it "legitimately" for either commercial or business purposes can establish rights to it. In the case of a common law registration, the early bird gets more than the worm -- it gets the use of the trademark. This is only effective, however, so long as no one else makes the same claim. Use is a good start, but registration is may be the better, long-term option.

A trademark can be registered with both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and with the New York Department of State. There are certain advantages to registration that an owner does not receive just from use. One of the biggest advantages is that if it is registered, the owner can file an action in federal court against anyone who uses it without permission, among other things.

A trademark can be an important piece of intellectual property for any New York business. Protecting it could help ensure that no one else reaps the benefits of your hard work. Simply using it may work for a while, but in the long run, it may be better to get it registered. That way, if someone does attempt to profit off your work, you will have a way to stop them and receive restitution for any losses you incurred. The registration process can be complicated, so finding someone to assist with it may be helpful.

Source: FindLaw, "Trademark Protection By Use or By Registration", , Sept. 2, 2014

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