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Home Service Mark Service Mark Registration Why Register a Service Mark

Why should anyone register a service mark? We see many brand names in our lives through the media on a daily basis. What are the benefits of a registered service mark, or what are the risks of not having one? You need to register a service mark, because it is the legal method to officially protect a mark name, design logo or phrase used on a product/service anywhere in the United States.
Risks of Not Having a Service Mark Registration:
You can create rights in a mark by using it in commerce. However, these common law rights have limitations. The rights in a common law mark are limited to the geographical area where the mark has been used.

In addition, when a service mark is not filed and registered, then someone else may register a similar mark in the meantime, making it hard or impossible for the original user to get registration in the future. A user who does not have a registered service mark is limited to using the mark only within its geographical area.

Registering a service mark at the outset of launching a mark name or design is the prudent thing to do. You can securely begin to invest resources in building a brand nationwide without the fear that someone else can steal a similar mark.

Case Study Risk Assessment involving two stores using the same name.

Benefits of U.S. Service Mark Registration:
A service mark benefits both businesses and consumers. As a business, a service mark protects your mark name in today's confusing and tough market conditions. A service mark not only protects you from having someone using your name, but most importantly a service mark also prevents anyone from having a similar name within the same industry. As a result, a service mark allows you to create a clear identity and reputation of your product and/or service with customers. You can grow or expand with confidence knowing that the mark you do business with is protected in the entire United States.

Service Marks also allow consumers to be better buyers by empowering them with the ability to distinguish brand products. This ensures that they can repeat their purchases of brands they liked and avoiding brands they didn't like.

Owning a Federal Service Mark registration on the Principal Register provides several important advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.

Advantages of a Service Mark
  • Constructive notice nationwide of the service mark owner's claim.
  • Evidence of ownership of the service mark.
  • Ability to bring a lawsuit concerning the mark in Federal Court.
  • Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.
  • Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to stop importation of infringing foreign goods.

Exclusive Rights to a Service Mark Owner
Upon registering your federal service mark name, the Unites States government grants service mark owners the right to exclude all other businesses and individuals from using a similar mark on related goods or services. Therefore, you, as an owner of the service mark, have the exclusive right and ownership to use the mark in your business trade. A registered service mark can, after five years, become incontestable at which point the exclusive right to use the mark is conclusively established.

Nationwide Protection
Nationwide notice gives you protection within the whole Unites States geographical territory. This is one of the most important reasons in registering a Federal Service Mark. Without a Federal registration you may be only protected within your local area under the common law. Federal service mark registration is an important step that enables any business to grow and expand in other markets of the country without the fear that someone else is already using their trade name.

To expand your business nationally without a Federal registration is risky business because any party who uses your service mark in a different geographical territory than you, and does so prior to your federal registration, will have the power to stop you from using the mark in the particular region of the country in which they have already established their business. In addition, they may even stop you from using your mark locally because you are violating their rights within the national territory. Therefore, it is imperative to obtain a Federal Service Mark.

Ability to bring a lawsuit in Federal Court
The owner of a Federal service mark registration has an easier ability to bring a lawsuit in Federal Court against any party who infringes their respected mark. In some cases, the owner may even obtain monetary compensation for their losses. It is possible to recover an infringement monetary award of three times your actual damages, plus attorney fees, and doing so is only possible with a registration.

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