Can I claim a federal trade mark by selling to other states over the internet?


I have registered a state trade mark for products I am selling in Hawaii. I am also starting to sell them over the internet on the mainland (mail order) so I am wondering if this gives me national trade mark rights? I am planning on eventually distributing my products to retail outlets nationally and am also wondering if my trade mark will only be protected in the states that I sell in?

I haven't managed to find an answer to this on the USPTO site.



asked Sep 7 '11 at 05:20
6 points

2 Answers


I agree with bwasson's sentiment that you should register with the USPTO. However, you may actually have some common law trademark rights where you are doing business (e.g. selling and marketing). The geographical scope of these marks is not well defined like state or federal trademarks. Selling over the Internet adds even more uncertainty as to where you can enforce your mark.

The best way to ensure that you can protect your mark anywhere in the US is to register with the USPTO. Just make sure that you do a good trademark search before you waste your money filing. This will let you know if anyone else has rights to the mark you want to register.

answered Oct 10 '11 at 07:22
Stephen Burch
915 points


You must register your trademark with the USPTO to have trademark protection. You have copyright, because you have been using it, but you have no trademark protection outside of the state of Hawaii. it would behoove you to register the trademark with the USPTO now, rather than waiting.

answered Sep 9 '11 at 00:47
1,162 points
  • A couple errors in this answer: (1) He does have common law trademark rights wherever he has used his mark in commerce. As Stephen points out, however, you do have stronger, clearer protection with a federal registration. (2) You can't copyright a name so he does not have any copyright protection. – Kekito 13 years ago

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