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How to Protect Your Trademark in 2022

We are often asked what’s the best way to protect your trademark. For years the answer was simple: Register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). However, in recent years the USPTO has come under fire for historically long registration times and allowing waves of allegedly fraudulent applications to clog their systems diminishing the value of U.S. trademark registrations. See USPTO criticized in Scathing Report from US Department of Commerce

by The Trademark Company

updated 10/17/2002 | 4 Min Read 

With this in mind, we think it’s a great time to compare the three primary ways to protect your trademark in 2022 so you can decide which option best fits your protection needs.

1. Unregistered Trademarks – Just Use It!

Cost: $0.00

Pros: One of the great misconceptions about trademarks is that you have to register them with the USPTO to have rights here in the U.S. This is simply false. The same law that protects USPTO registered trademarks also protects trademarks that are not registered with the USPTO.  Unregistered trademarks can use the “TM” symbol and can be successfully enforced, and routinely are, even against USPTO registered trademarks, in the event of infringement.

Cons: An unregistered trademark is generally only protected where it is being used (i.e., county, state, or beyond) and if you need to enforce it you will have to prove that you have valid trademark rights both in terms of when you began use of the trademark and that it is otherwise entitled to protection (e.g., not merely descriptive, etc.).  Of note, an unregistered trademark cannot be used for the Amazon Brand Registry.

2. Trademark 1.0 (USPTO) – The Old School

Cost: $350-$700 (On Average)

Pros: Registering your trademark with the USPTO was the traditional way of securing your trademark rights. Before registering your trademark, the USPTO will check to make sure your trademark is available to register (i.e., there are no other similar trademarks on their register, it’s not merely descriptive, etc.) and then issue your certificate of registration if so. Your trademark then appears on the federal register and this can be used for the Amazon Brand Registry.
 
Cons: On average, it takes about 9 months just for the USPTO to look at your application. Registration, assuming it qualifies, will take over a year. These are historically high wait times for the USPTO which has seemingly been unable to evolve in our changing global economy. The USPTO has largely and continuously failed to address its shortcomings while simultaneously increasing the barriers for trademark filers to secure their trademarks without professional assistance. The average cost for the USPTO’s filing fees ranges from $350 to $700 per application, fees that are not refundable even if a trademark is not registered. In short, you may pay for nothing. By the way, even if a trademark registers with the USPTO it can still be cancelled by another trademark, even an Unregistered Trademark or Trademark 2.0 (See Below). 

3. Trademark 2.0 – Rights Secured without the Hassle

Cost: $199 (On Average)
 
Pros: Registering your trademark on a publicly searchable blockchain secures your trademark’s use, and thus rights, in a searchable record. Trademarks 2.0 are the most affordable registered option with an average cost of only $199. Availability on the public blockchain provides a deterrent effect placing others on notice of your rights so that they do not adopt a trademark similar to yours. A Trademark 2.0 also can be enforced against registered or unregistered trademarks in federal and state courts. Registration is guaranteed and typically occurs in less than a day.

Cons: Like an unregistered trademark, the trademark is generally only protected where it is being used (i.e., county, state, or beyond) and if you need to enforce it you will have to prove that you otherwise have valid trademark rights (e.g., not merely descriptive, etc.). Finally, Trademark 2.0 cannot be used for the Amazon Brand Registry.
Our Pick: Trademark 2.0 – Unless you need it for the Amazon Brand Registry
            
All things considered, a Trademark 2.0 is the preferred method to protect your trademark. Because it is registered on the blockchain, your rights are secured  in a manner making it easier and more effective to enforce than an unregistered trademark. The cost is dramatically less than the USPTO option without the hassle and significant delays of a registry run by an increasingly inefficient system. Lastly, your registration is guaranteed as opposed to the USPTO which will take application fees and oftentimes simply refuse to register your trademark without refunding your money.

For these reasons, in 2022 a Trademark 2.0 is your best option for securing your trademark.

Secure Your Trademark Today!