Obtaining a trademark

Trademarks can protect words, phrases, pictures, symbols or sounds that distinguish your goods and services from competitors. Trademarks can be very valuable and are relatively easy to obtain, so long as the mark is not confusingly similar in use to someone else’s mark. Trademarks are useful to protect your business name, product names and any slogans associated with your business. 

You can establish common law trademark rights simply by using the trademark in commerce. These common law rights include the right to prevent others from using the same or a confusingly similar mark in the same market area. Federal and state laws provide a registration process that allows trademark owners to document their exclusive ownership of, and right to use, a trademark. Federal registration is particularly valuable because it provides for nationwide protection, a federal forum for enforcement and penalties against infringement not available with common law protection or a state registration.