Federal VS State Trademark Registration

Trademark symbol

Minnesota attorney Aaron Hall discusses whether it is better to register a trademark through your state or through the U.S. Federal Government Patent Office.


Clients often ask me whether they should get a trademark registration with their state, or with the federal government. The answer is quite simple. Don’t waste time or money with a state trademark registration. Instead, focus on a trademark registration with the federal government. That’s through the USPTO or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Trademark law in the United States is generally governed by federal law. In other words, state law is generally preempted by federal trademark legislation enacted by Congress. By getting a state registration, you really don’t get much as far as rights that you wouldn’t already have in a common law trademark. However with a federal trademark registration, you’re getting a number of substantial rights that apply throughout the United States and allow you to use the R with a circle around it as a trademark registration symbol.