Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Deciding between state and federal trademarks

Business owners in New Jersey can create a trademark for their business regardless of the size of their enterprise. Trademarks can be used to protect the logo, name or slogan of businesses. However, business owners should know what type trademark they can have and how to register it.

One of the purposes of a trademark is to differentiate the services or goods created or sold by one entity from those created and sold by another. Trademarks are also brand names and identify from where the goods and services come.

A trademark registration can be obtained in every state, but it is a federal trademark that provides the most protection. State trademarks do not provide rights for the entire state, only rights that are applicable to an immediate geographical location. A federal trademark gives a business owner rights that are applicable across the country instead of just one geographical area.

While federal trademarks provide nationwide rights, obtaining state trademarks are much less costly and easier to obtain. Entrepreneurs should not be hesitant to obtain state trademarks; however, state trademarks should not be the only trademark they obtain. There are some situations in which state trademarks can be extremely useful.

Entrepreneurs who are concerned about their brand and who create products that entice counterfeiters may find it difficult to get assistance from the federal government in fighting forgers. Because the laws differ in each state, a trademark professional should be consulted about state and federal trademarks if there is a possibility that a product could be counterfeited.

An attorney who practices intellectual property law may answer questions entrepreneurs may have about trademark law. The attorney may also assist clients with protecting their products and services from counterfeiters by filing lawsuits against the parties who are infringing on the clients' trademark rights.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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