Supplemental vs. Principal Trademark Register

October 24, 2013, 3:05 PM

The Patent and Trademark Office has two sections of the Federal Trademark Register the Principal Register and the Supplemental Register. The Principal Register is reserved for distinctive marks. The Supplemental Register is for nondistinctive marks that are capable of acquiring a secondary meaning so that, as a result of long-term and extensive use, consumers know that the mark designates a source of particular products or services. The fundamental difference between the two Registers lies in the rights associated with each. The Principal Register conveys the presumptions of validity, ownership and exclusive rights to use the mark; however, marks on the Supplemental Register may always be contested. Nonetheless, registration on the Supplemental Register still provides trademark protection in that confusingly similar marks may not be registered on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register. - Nicole J. Harrell