Pennsylvania Trademark Registration

Why file a state trademark application instead of a federal trademark application?

In general, federal trademark registration is the most desirable form of registration. However, in some instances, state trademark registration can be useful.

Federal trademark registration conveys a stronger presumption of the exclusive right to use the trademark than state trademark registration, even if the state trademark registration has an earlier application filing date. However, trademark registration at the state level is indicative of common law rights to use the trademark. Common law trademark rights based on actual use and market penetration in a specific geographic area are superior to the presumption of exclusive rights accompanying a federal trademark registration.

State trademark registration is useful when federal trademark registration is unavailable. For example, an application for trademark registration requires certifying that the applicant is not aware of anyone else with the right to use the trademark or any confusingly similar trademark. When a trademark applicant is aware of another user of a confusingly similar trademark in another state, that trademark applicant cannot sign the application for federal trademark registration unless the applicant was the first party to use the trademark. In that situation, state trademark registration provides a degree of protection as well as notice to others of the trademark.

Pennsylvania Trademark Applications

Pennsylvania trademark applications can only be made based on actual use of the trademark in connection with the goods or services. This is different from federal trademark applications, which can be made based on the bona fide intention to use the trademark. Each application for Pennsylvania trademark registration is limited to a single class of goods or services. However, multiple trademark applications may be filed if registration is desired in connection with more than one class of goods or services.