While it is not necessary to register a trademark, owning a federal trademark registration provides many benefits. Such a registration puts the public on notice to the registrants claim of ownership of the mark, gives the registrant legal ownership of the mark and the ability to bring action concerning the mark in federal court. Registering a trademark can also serve as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries and the ability to prevent the importation of infringing foreign goods by filing the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service.
Intent to Use Basis or In Use Basis
Trademarks can be filed on either and intent-to-use basis or on an in-use basis. Under the intent-to-use basis, the applicant has not yet actually used the trademark in commerce but can claim in good faith that they plan to do so later. In this case, the applicantant must later file a second form with the United State Patent and Trademark Office before the mark can be fully registered. To file a trademark under an in-use basis, the applicant must have used the trademark in commerce.
Trademark Registration Fees
The United States Patent and Registration Office charges a filing fee per class of goods and services. Any filing fees are considered “processing fees” and are not refundable even if an application is a rejected. Therefore, all necessary steps to ensure that a trademark is eligible should be taken before an application is submitted.