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What are the benefits of registering my trademark?

When speaking about the registration of trademarks, one is generally referring to a federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are several important benefits which you get by registering your trademark on the Principal Register with the Patent and Trademark Office:

(1)  Once your mark is registered, it provides constructive notice throughout the nation that you own the trademark - that is, everyone in the country is assumed to know that you own the trademark and have exclusive rights in it, even if they do not actually know this;

(2)  Once your mark is registered, it is presumed to be valid, and you are presumed to be the owner of the trademark with exclusive rights nationwide. When your trademark becomes incontestable, these presumptions actually become conclusive, which means that nobody is permitted to argue that your trademark is not valid or that you are not the proper owner (these are arguments that might come up, for example in a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement).

(3)  Once your mark is registered, you can bring lawsuit in federal court to prevent someone else from abusing your rights (that is, infringing your trademark).

(4)  If you succeed in a lawsuit against someone else for trademark infringement, if your mark is registered you will be entitled to monetary damages, and you may be entitled to your attorneys’ fees.

(5)  Once your mark is registered, you can file a request with the United States Customs Service to prevent the importation of foreign goods which infringe your trademark rights.

In addition to being able to register with the PTO, a trademark can be registered with any state, pursuant to that state’s own rules and procedures. While the benefits of such state registration vary depending on the laws of the state, the main benefit is that, as with a registration on the Principal Register, a state registration acts as constructive notice to others in the state that the trademark owner has rights in the mark.