What are the advantages of federal registration?

Minneapolis trademark attorney Jennifer Debrow discusses the benefits of federal trademark registration.

Contact Jennifer Debrow

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 632-3357


So in the U.S., trademark rights are based on use, not registration, so you do have trademark rights and the ability to bring an infringement lawsuit without any type of federal registration, but the most important advantage of federal registration is called “Nationwide Priority of Rights.”

Your common law rights in a trademark are geographically limited, so if you have rights – you’re offering a service in New York, someone else could use that same mark and offer a service in Florida, because the idea is the consumers are not confused, because consumers are buying your products in New York. They’re not encountering the Florida company. There’s no confusion. This is becoming less true with the Internet, but it’s – generally, there’s some geographic limitations on common law rights. So the most important benefit of a federal registration is that it gives you Nationwide Priority of Rights, which means that when you – as of the date you apply for your federal registration, you will have the right to be the user anywhere in the country. So if you’re a company that’s expanding first regionally and then nationally, and it’s gonna take some time, basically, the government is kind of reserving those rights for you across the country, and you will be able to, when you’re ready to enter the Florida market, use your mark on Florida and stop anybody else who might be using the mark there.