State trademark vs. federal: Which do you need to protect your brand?

Trademark Law0 comments

If federal trademark registration is the New York Times of trademark registration, state trademark registration is a personal blog.

They both have their uses, but one will reach a lot farther than the other.

Where federal trademark registration offers nationwide coverage, exclusive rights, and the ability to take legal action in federal courts to protect your brand…

State trademark registration is much more localized in scope. 

It provides protection within a specific state but lacks the expansive reach and comprehensive legal advantages of federal trademarks.

Either way, your trademark is a vital asset for your brand.

You should know the best way to protect it.

**Just before we dive in: this post is legal education and information, not business, financial, or legal advice, and it doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship between us. 

This is also an attorney communication under Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California and Business and Professions Code Sections 6157-6159.2.

Please chat with an attorney in your area to make sure you’re protecting your business.**

If you have a business, you have a trademark(s)

One of the cool things about being a business owner is that if you own a business, you have at least one trademark. 

Maybe even multiple trademarks!

A trademark is a unique identifier that allows your customers to know at a glance that the product/service they’re getting is coming from you.

Your trademark can take a lot of different forms, including word marks, logo marks, slogan marks, sound marks, and color marks.

There are multiple ways to protect your mark

Trademarks are a valuable asset for any business (especially online businesses).

But did you know that there are multiple ways for you to protect your mark?

You could:

–Simply be protected by common law ™ rights

–Apply for state trademark registration

–Apply for federal trademark registration

–Even apply for international trademark registration

If you’ve chosen a strong trademark, any and all of the above avenues will likely be successful for you.

But which will give you the protection you actually need?

Understanding the differences between state vs. federal trademark registration

Both state and federal trademark registration will provide you with:

  • The exclusive right to use your mark;
  • The ability to sue for infringement ;
  • Use of the ™ symbol;
  • The rights to use the mark in connection with your goods or services.

BUT the big difference?

State registration only allows you to do all of the above within the state you’re registered in.

Federal registration gives you the right to do all of that nationwide

Plus, with federal registration, you can also:

  • Enforce your rights across the United States (reducing the chance of customer confusion and increasing your brand preservation);
  • Notify others of your trademark rights with the fancy little ® symbol;
  • Sue for infringement in federal court;
  • Recover attorney fees and damages if your infringement lawsuit is successful;
  • File your registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
  • Experience an easier process registering your trademark in foreign countries;
  • Have your mark listed in the USPTO’s database – creating a public record of your mark to deter others from using it;
  • Gain a valuable asset for your online business.

Is state or federal trademark registration right for your brand?

I’d bet, in today’s global economy, you’re doing business across state borders.

If not internationally.

And it just makes sense to explore federal trademark registration for heightened protection. 

Especially if you, like many online business owners, are planning to expand, grow, and scale as the opportunities arise for you.

Why dilute your reach or risk your brand protection with anything less than federal trademark registration?

Apply now for your trademark consultation, and let’s figure out what’s right for you and your brand.


Want to keep Uncomplicating Trademarks for yourself?

Get on the exclusive podcast list and start listening today.


I’m Nicole.

I understand both the legal world and the online business world and can bridge the gap for entrepreneurs that want to ensure all of their ducks are in a nice, neat row. Let’s protect your business so you can build your empire.

error: Content is protected !!