While it may come as a surprise to many business owners, a federal trademark registration does not grant the owner a 100% right to use the trademark in interstate commerce. How is this so? The answer lies mainly in the role and limited jurisdiction of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
In determining whether to grant a trademark registration, the Trademark Office looks to various federal rules, trademark examining procedures, and case law to determine whether a trademark is eligible for registration. The Trademark Office does not render any opinion on whether a trademark owner is free to use the trademark in commerce on particular goods or services of the trademark owner. Why? Because the Trademark Office is limited to matters of registration, not rendering opinions or granting rights to use a trademark in the marketplace. In fact, there are many companies that have a trademark registration, only to be sued in federal court for trademark infringement!
Want to know more about how to avoid a trademark infringement lawsuit in Connecticut, New York, or other states? Feel free to call me at (203) 244-4264.