Florida v. Federal Trademarks

Florida v. Federal Trademarks

Operating a Florida business is about more than offering a good or service. In addition to creating something of value for your customer base, you are also developing your brand. Your business’s image, logo, name, and associated terms are valuable intangible assets. By using a trademark, you can protect your business and its brand identity. In Florida, you can register trademarks with the state and federal governments. Where you register your trademark matters, and it’s important to know the distinctions. Here is more on Florida v. federal trademarks.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a legal designation that provides its holder with certain exclusive rights. Trademarks are used to protect brand names, logos, products, business-associated terms or phrases, and other intellectual property. Some examples of popular registered trademarks include those owned by Apple, Nike, Google, Wal-Mart, and Rolex.

Federal and Florida Trademarks

A Florida entrepreneur can register a trademark at state and federal levels. However, federal and state trademarks cover different transaction areas. Specifically, federal trademarks cover interstate commerce. By contrast, a Florida trademark only applies to use within the state.

There are numerous similarities between Florida and federal trademarks. Both serve the purpose of protecting the registrant’s intellectual property. In addition, state and federal trademarks offer many of the same benefits, including protecting brand identifiers, making an official record of ownership, creating an ownership interest, and protecting owners from infringement. 

Generally, Florida trademarks tend to be less expensive and easier to obtain. However, federal trademarks offer more protection. Here is more on the differences between federal and state trademarks:

Federal Trademarks

  • Available for interstate commerce
  • Can possibly be extended to international commerce
  • If the trademark is used, it can last indefinitely
  • Require registration fees at certain intervals
  • Offers specific protection for domain names
  • Requires higher registration fees than a Florida trademark
  • More complicated process to obtain
  • Offers additional statutory damages for the use of a counterfeit mark.
  • Allows for the use of the® symbol

Florida Trademarks

  • Only apply within Florida
  • Take less time to obtain than federal trademarks
  • Lower registration fee
  • Registrations last five years and can be renewed
  • Does not allow the use of the ® Symbol

Federal and Florida trademarks registrations have several positive features designed to protect the registrant’s brand identity. Additionally, both provide remedies if another party uses an owner’s trademarked logo, image, or brand. Therefore, there are reasons to use both types of trademarks.

The best way to determine if you need a Florida or federal trademark is by discussing your needs with an experienced Florida business attorney. Your business lawyer can review your options with you so you can make informed decisions about how to protect your business’s intellectual property.

Contact a Florida Business Attorney Today

Attorney Richard Sierra at the Florida Small Business Center assists clients like you with business and litigation matters. As always, Our Goal Is to Help You Succeed™. For an appointment, you may call us at 1-866-842-5202 or use the contact form on our website. We represent small business clients throughout the State of Florida, including Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Deerfield Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Orlando, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, and surrounding communities.

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