Federal vs. State Trademark Registration | Attorney Aaron Hall

Federal vs. State Trademark Registration

In this video, Minnesota attorney Aaron Hall discusses whether it is better to register a trademark through your state or through the U.S. Federal Government Patent Office.

Video Transcript

My name is Aaron Hall. I’m an attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clients often ask me, “Should I do federal or state trademark registration?” The answer is really simple. Forget about state trademark registration. If you need to register your trademark, federal registration is the way to go. Here’s why.

First off, simply by using a mark in commerce, you acquire what’s called common law trademark right. You get those in the county where you use the mark in a significant way. Let’s say you have a coffee shop. The name of your coffee shop, unless there’s a problem, will be your trademark in that county.
Under common law trademark rights, nobody else can use that mark.

Now, let’s say you want to expand beyond the county. You might think, “I should get state trademark registration.” Well, because of the Lanham Act and federal trademark law, federal trademark law trumps state trademark law. It’s really a waste of time and money to do any sort of state trademark
registration because the federal registration will trump it. If you’re serious about protecting your trademark across the nation and acquiring all the other protections that come from trademark registration, you’ll want to look at federal trademark registration.

Old (Obsolete) Video Transcript

My name is Aaron Hall. I’m an attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clients often ask me, “Should I do federal or state trademark registration?” The answer is really simple. Forget about state trademark registration. If you need to register your trademark, federal registration is the way to go. Here’s why.

First off, simply by using a mark in commerce, you acquire what’s called common law trademark right. You get those in the county where you use the mark in a significant way. Let’s say you have a coffee shop. The name of your coffee shop, unless there’s a problem, will be your trademark in that county. Under common law trademark rights, nobody else can use that mark.

Now, let’s say you want to expand beyond the county. You might think, “I should get state trademark registration.” Well, because of the Lanham Act and federal trademark law, federal trademark law trumps state trademark law. It’s really a waste of time and money to do any sort of state trademark registration because the federal registration will trump it. If you’re serious about protecting your trademark across the nation and acquiring all the other protections that come from trademark registration, you’ll want to look at federal trademark registration.