What is the difference between the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register?

The Principal Register is a primary trademark register of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When a mark has been registered on the Principal Register, the mark is entitled to all the rights provided by the Trademark Act.

The Supplemental Register is a secondary trademark register for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Supplemental Register allows for registration of certain marks that are not eligible for registration on the Principal Register but are capable of distinguishing an applicant’s goods or services. Marks registered on the Supplemental Register receive protection from conflicting marks and other protections, but are excluded from receiving certain advantages of the Trademark Act.

Registration common on the Supplemental Register permit a registrant to use the circle-R registration symbol (®), provides access to federal court for enforcement of the mark,  is protected against registration of a confusingly similar mark under Trademark Act Section 2(d), and may serve as the basis for a filing in a foreign country under the Paris Convention and other international agreements. However, registration on the Supplemental Register does not convey legal presumptions of validity, ownership, and exclusive rights to use the mark, as afforded by registration on the Principal Register.

Should I hire an attorney?

The trademark application process is complex. Although not required, most applicants use private trademark attorneys for legal advice regarding use of their trademark, filing an application, and the likelihood of success in the registration process, since not all applications proceed to registration. A private trademark attorney (not associated with the USPTO) may help you avoid many potential pitfalls.

For more information relating to representation for preparation, filing, examining, and maintaining your federal trademark registration, contact a trademark law firm such as Nyman IP at hello@nymanip.com or 312.487.2532.


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United States Patent and Trademark Office, www.uspto.gov