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  • Writer's pictureTodd

Supplemental Register for Trademarks

In this VLOG, we’re going to talk about the Supplemental Register. But we have to talk about the Principal Register before we do that. The Principal Register is where everybody wants their marks to be.

The benefits of the Principal Register are:

  • You have constructive notice of the mark across the whole United States.

  • You have incontestable status after five years. You have the right to bring a case in federal court without diversity or amount in controversy requirements being met.

  • You have the right to request U.S Customers and Border Protection to keep out infringing goods

  • And you have the potential for treble damages and attorney fees.

  • You also get to use the Circle R.

But in some cases a mark that is not distinctive has a maybe-it-can-be-a-trademark-maybe-it-can’t-be-a-trademark vibe and you have the opportunity to have the mark placed on the Supplemental Register. Although you don’t get all of the benefits of the Principal Register, you do have some rights:

  • You can still use the Circle R.

  • You are still Included in the USPTO’s databases.

  • You can use it to stop others from registering confusingly similar marks.

  • You can bring suit in federal court.

  • And you can use it for foreign filing basis.

After you’ve used the mark for 5 years and have achieved acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning, you can file a new application for registration on the Principal Register. Acquired distinctiveness means the public has come to perceive the mark as a designation that identifies your brand in selling certain goods and services. Five years of exclusive use is a good start.

Examples of nontraditional types of trademarks that need secondary meaning include color, shape, sound, and scent.

If you have more questions about the Supplemental Register, reach out to TAF Legal!

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you wish to schedule a consultation, let’s work together on your trademark needs


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