A determination of trademark priority is often how the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), courts and businesses settle rights over trademark disputes. Trademark priority refers to the principle that trademark rights typically belong to the first person or entity to use the mark in commerce. The entity or person who first sells goods or […]
Look at some of the basic information surrounding a federal trademark. Including what a trademark protects, why you should obtain a federal trademark, a comparison of a trademark to a patent or copyright, and how our trademark attorneys can help you in the process of obtaining a federal trademark.
While it may seem that trademark priority is simple to understand, a priority battle between two trademarks can be costly and complicated. First, U.S. trademark rights are based on use of a mark in commerce, not registration. In other words, the first person to obtain a federal registration of a trademark with the USPTO does not guarantee that owner an absolute priority or exclusivity over that mark. Under common law (law generated by judges instead of statutes) the date a trademark was first used in commerce has priority to use that mark in the geographic area the mark is being used.