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Trademarks FAQs

What are the differences between my business filings and my trademark rights?

When setting up and maintaining a business, a business owner will need to accomplish many tasks, many of which involve filings with the state or states in which he or she wishes to do or is doing business. These filings include things like registering your business name, setting up a d/b/a, getting an EIN, etc. It is important that business owners understand that NONE of these things give them ANY trademark rights, and especially not federal trademark rights. ONLY use of a trademark to sell or advertise goods or services affords a business trademark rights, and ONLY federal trademark registration carries the benefits of federal trademark registration.

On the flip side, simply registering your trademark with the USPTO does not necessarily mean that someone has not already registered to do business under such a name with a state, since the USPTO does not search state business filings when determining whether your trademark is registrable. The USPTO also does not search to see whether someone else may already be using the name you are seeking to register as a trademark. For these reasons, LegalZoom strongly recommends a Comprehensive Trademark Search as part of your trademark package.