The Principal Register is a listing of trademarks maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademarks are granted a listing on the Principal Register if they are considered to be distinctive and capable of identifying the source of the goods or services associated with the trademark. The Principal Register provides the strongest legal protection for trademark owners and offers a number of benefits over the Supplemental Register.
Some of the key benefits of the Principal Register include:
- Presumption of validity: Trademarks listed on the Principal Register are presumed to be valid, which can be important in legal disputes.
- Nationwide constructive notice: Listing a trademark on the Principal Register provides nationwide constructive notice of the owner’s claim of trademark rights. This can prevent others from unintentionally infringing on the owner’s trademark rights.
- Incontestability: After five years of continuous use, trademarks on the Principal Register may become incontestable, which makes it more difficult for others to challenge the trademark.
- Right to use ® symbol: Trademark owners who have a trademark listed on the Principal Register are entitled to use the ® symbol to indicate that the trademark is registered and protected under federal law.
On the other hand, the Supplemental Register is a secondary register for trademarks with the USPTO and is intended for trademarks that are not eligible for the Principal Register, but still deserve some level of protection. Trademarks on the Supplemental Register do not receive the same legal benefits as trademarks on the Principal Register and are not entitled to use the ® symbol. However, they can still provide some protection against infringement and can lead to registration on the Principal Register if the trademark becomes distinctive over time.
The Supplemental Register is a secondary trademark register maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This register is intended for marks that cannot meet the requirements for the Principal Register, but still provide some trademark protection.
To be eligible for the Supplemental Register, a mark must not be capable of serving as a trademark on the Principal Register. This means that the mark is not inherently distinctive or has not acquired distinctiveness through secondary meaning. Some examples of marks that may be eligible for the Supplemental Register include descriptive marks, surnames, and geographic names that have not acquired secondary meaning.
Once a mark is placed on the Supplemental Register, the trademark owner may use the ® symbol, indicating that the mark is protected under federal trademark law. Additionally, the mark may become eligible for inclusion on the Principal Register if the trademark owner can demonstrate that the mark has acquired secondary meaning through use over time.
It is important to note that while the Supplemental Register provides some level of protection, it is not as comprehensive as the protection provided by the Principal Register. As such, trademark owners who are looking for comprehensive protection should strive to have their marks placed on the Principal Register.