As the owner of a trademark, you have the exclusive right to use your mark in connection with goods and services covered by your mark. This exclusivity is very important because trademarks are capable of distinguishing one brand from another. Trademarks protections exist at both the state and federal level.
Referred to as 'common law' rights, state level protections vary from state to state and are based on basic common law principals and Unfair Competition laws. Common law protection kicks in whenever you have a trademark that you are using in commerce with your goods or services. State level protections do not extend beyond the state.
Federal trademark protection is obtained by submitting an application for registration to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The process takes approximately 9 months and once obtained, trademark owenrs have the exclusive right to ue