Who can apply to register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)?

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Any owner of the trademark may apply to register a trademark. The owner of the trademark would specifically be either the person, business, organization, corporation, or partnership that possesses the trademark. It may also be important to understand exactly what a trademark is. A trademark is specifically a brand name and includes "any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination that is used or intended to be used" to identify goods and services that the owner of the trademark specifically offers ("Trademark Basics").

It may also be important to understand that registering a trademark is actually optional. Even if you do not register the trademark, you can still use the trademark to market your goods or services. But their are advantages to federally registering your trademark:

  • Once registered, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) publicly publishes the trademark and your claim to ownership of the trademark.
  • You have full legal rights to the trademark.
  • You have full rights to take legal action in a federal court should someone infringe your trademark.
  • You can use your U.S. registration to then register your trademark in foreign countries as well.
  • You can protect your trademark from foreign infringement by recording your registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service.

Hence, while any person or organization who claims ownership of a trademark may register a trademark, doing so is not necessary, but certainly does provide many legal rights and benefits.


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