Trademark Law

Trademarks laws in United States were first enacted in 1881 and then underwent major revision in 1905 and then again 1946. In 1946, US congress enacted the Lanham Act which at present acts as legal framework governing the trademark registration and protection in United States of America. The act established and granted authority to United States Patent and Trademarks office (USPTO) for managing trademark registration within United States with each state having subsidiary laws which adds to the protection provided.

US Trademark Law

A person, as per US trademark laws acquire a right to use trademark by using it during the normal course of business or by applying for registration in the United States Patent and Trademarks office. One can file an application for registration based on actual use or intent to use. Once you file for registration of trademark, you need to provide evidence to support your application within stipulated time. An individual may select to defend the application or hire an attorney to do so.

One can have a registered trademark or an unregistered trademark but it is always advisable to have the trademark registered because if a registered trademark is not opposed for five years then it becomes “incontestable”. Both registered and un-registered trademarks are protected under Lanham Act. A trademark used within the state can be registered with the state authority itself.

Trademark law in United States is enforced through private law suits unlike copyright act lawsuits which have provision for criminal penalties. The onus to file the lawsuits also lies with the owner of the trademark.

The recent addition to the trademark law framework in United States is Federal Trademark Dilution Act, 1995 (Revised in 2006) and Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 1999.

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