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What is the Supplemental Register?

Under the federal trademark registration scheme, there are two different trademark registers. One is the Principal Register and the other is the Supplemental Register.

The Supplemental Register is where one can register a trademark which meets the requirements for registrability except for the fact that it does not have the appropriate level of distinctiveness, i.e., that it is not inherently distinctive and does not have secondary meaning. However, having a mark on the Supplemental Register does not give the trademark owner most of the rights granted by placing a trademark on the Principal Register, except for allowing the mark’s owner to bring federal court actions for any infringement of the trademark. As a result, it is preferable to have a trademark on the Principal Register, because this gives the trademark owner exclusive nationwide rights in the mark.