Experienced NJ Trademark Attorney
Guiding clients through trademark registers
The Lanham Act of 1946 set for a number of prohibited activities regarding trademarks, including infringement, dilution, and false advertising. The Lanham Act also establishes registers for trademarks. The two registers that trademarks should be listed under include the Principal Register and Supplemental Register. Both registers are maintained by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Each serves a specific function to help businesses protect their intellectual property. If you have a trademark or trade name, you should contact an attorney that can assess your legal options and ensure that your trademark is backed by the greatest protection possible. The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC is an experienced intellectual property attorney serving clients with IP legal matters. If you need legal guidance, contact our firm for a consultation today.
The Principal Register is for trademarks that have taken on a secondary meaning. For example, the McDonalds arches have become an iconic symbol that goes far beyond deciphering one goods from another. The arches may evoke emotion in some or memories in others. Under the Principal Register, your mark has something called constructive use and constructive notice. This means that others cannot use similar marks. You may be able to obtain incontestable status after 5 years. It also provides the legal means to take federal legal action against infringing parties and employ the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop infringing goods from entering the United States.
The Supplemental Register is a simpler matter. The only requirement is that your mark is capable of distinguishing your goods or services from another. Under this register, you are not provided any other rights aside from common law. This register does not involve opposition proceedings but the protection provided can be canceled at any time by the court.
Moving a trademark from the Supplemental to the Principal Register
Your trademark has the ability to move from one register to another. After 5 years on the secondary register, your mark may take on a secondary meaning. This says that your continued use has established mark distinctiveness. Once your mark is “distinctive”, you may be eligible for the Principal Register.
Contact a trademark protection law firm
The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC is an effective intellectual property law firm that services business clients who need guidance through the acquisition of trademark protection. Our firm has over 25 years of experience in the IP community representing clients through all legal matters, including actions against infringing parties. If you need a law firm to skillfully guide you through any trademark legal issue, contact The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC for a consultation today.