The Federal Trademark Law (the Lanham Act) and state trademark laws authorize registration of a trademark or service mark that is unique in sound, meaning or appearance that is not likely to be confused with the logo, product, trademark, service mark and so on of another. Unique marks that are suggestive, arbitrary and fanciful generally can be registered. Unique marks that are only descriptive can be registered if the mark acquired a secondary meaning.

Rights to a trademark or service mark can be established by use of the mark. Superior rights generally vest with the first user. If one secures Federal or state registration, additional preclusive rights follow.

Federal registration is for ten (10) years, renewable for additional ten (10) year periods provided the trademark or service mark is used continuously. Between the fifth and sixth year after registration, affidavits of continual use must be filed. If the affidavits are accepted, the registration becomes incontestable, which provides certain additional presumptions in favor of the owner of the trademark or service mark. The trademark or service mark should bear the registration symbol, ®. When not registered, one can use the symbol, &trade or ℠, with the trademark or service mark, respectively.