It is important to note that common law ownership rights to a trademark can be acquired by simply using the mark in commerce, in connection with the relevant goods or services, without even registering the mark. However, protecting your mark with the Texas Secretary of State will provide you with greater benefits.
- First, registering your mark in Texas puts the entire State on notice that you claim ownership to the mark associated with the goods and services that you provide. This allows others to search the State’s trademark database to discover that your mark is already being claimed.
- Secondly, once you have obtained registration of your mark, your certificate of registration provides rebuttable proof (prima facie evidence) that: the registration is valid; that you own the mark; and that you hold exclusive rights to use the mark in Texas commerce.
- Another benefit of obtaining State trademark registration is that the owner may bring a statutory cause of action for infringement of their mark in a Texas court. This allows local businesses to better police their mark and provides a local forum to seek relief.
- Additionally, Texas law makes it is a criminal offense to counterfeit registered marks. Therefore, having a State trademark registration adds another layer of protection, by imposing criminal penalties against offenders for their unauthorized or fraudulent use of your mark.
- Finally, from a financial perspective, obtaining a trademark in Texas is much more cost effective for small business owners, who only intend to sell goods or provide services within the State. Under these circumstances, most small businesses would benefit more from a State trademark, rather than federal registration, because the application fee and fee per class is dramatically less.
Now that you know the benefits, if you have a business in Texas and would like to protect your brand assets, contact Hebert-Thomas Law, PLLC to help you through the trademark application process.