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People are sometimes on the fence as to whether to coast by with common law trademark rights or apply for State or Federal trademark protection. As a trademark lawyer, of course I encourage them to register! Several benefits of formal registration make it a more desirable way to protect a word or design that is used in connection with particular goods or services. The top three reasons to register a trademark include:
1. Trademarks add value to a company if it is ever divested or sold. Trademarks and other intellectual property, while intangible, are considered assets that belong to a business or individual.
2. Enhanced damages in cases of infringement. If a third party uses your trademark (or one that is “confusingly similar”) to purposely confuse consumers as to the source of goods or services and you sue them for trademark infringement, you will be entitled to enhanced damages if you win.
3. A registration provides others with constructive notice of your rights in your word or design. Just as we search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records to determine whether a mark is “clear” to use, others searching the USPTO or Secretary of State records will see your application or registration, and likely be dissuaded from using something similar.