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Federal & State Statutes on Common Law Trademark Rights


Most states have preserved common law rights for unregistered trademarks even though the states have passed statutes for trademark registration and trademark infringement. Why is this relevant to Business? Using a trademark or domain name without first doing a state and common law clearance check is risky business. Any prior user of that trademark will have some rights that may preempt your rights. Even if your adoption of the prior used mark was in ‘good faith’, you may have to immediately stop using the trademark if the prior user successfully asserts prior rights. A  comprehensive trademark search and a qualified legal opinion can significantly decrease your risk of losing your trademark or domain name to a prior user (or having to license the trademark from them). “Good faith,” “likelihood of confusion,” “inherently distinctive,” “merely descriptive,” and “generic” are all examples of legal terms of art that are not interpreted by mechanical search engines when looking for conflicting marks.


Note: This is not a complete listing of federal or state laws regarding common law trademark. Not all of the statutes can be reached directly by the links provided. Where the links are not direct, most can be reached by following the table of contents and using the title number, article and section number.


State

Deceptive Trade Practices Acts

Links to other State Statutes dealing with Trademark, Service Marks, Corporate Names, etc.

Alabama


Code of  Alabama Title 8, Article 12, Section 8-12-6 Trademarks

Section 8-12-19 Common Law Rights

Section 8-12-16 Liability to civil action for infringement

Section 8-12-17 Injury to business reputation or dilution of quality of mark grounds for injunctive relief

Alaska


Alaska Stat.  45.50. COMPETITIVE PRACTICES, REGULATION OF COMPETITION, CONSUMER PROTECTION

Article 01. TRADEMARKS

Alaska Stat. 45.50.471 Unlawful acts and practices

Sec. 45.50.190 Common-law rights

[Repealed, Sec. 29 ch 132 SLA 1996]

Arizona


Title 44, Ch.10 COMPETITION AND COMPETITIVE PRACTICES

44-1452. Common law rights

44-1441 Registration and Protection of Trademarks and Service Marks

Arkansas

4-88-107.Deceptive and unconscionable trade practices generally

Title 4, Subtitle 6, Ch. 71 Trademarks and Labels and 75 Unfair Practices Act

4-71-216.Common law rights.

California


State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal system of Trademark Registration and protection under the Trademark Act of 1946 14200 Model State Trademark Law


CA Rights of Registered Marks Famous Marks Common Law Rights


Assembly Bill No. 1394, CHAPTER 431,An act to amend Section 350 of the Penal Code, relating to counterfeitingFile: CA Rights of Registered Marks Famous Marks Common Law Rights.pdf

Colorado

Colorado Revised Statutes

  6-1-105. Deceptive trade practices.

Colorado Revised Statutes

  Trademarks, 7-70-101 to 7-70-109, Trade Names, 7-71-101 to 7-71-112.

Connecticut


Chapter 621 Secs. 35-11a to 35-11m Trademarks and Service Marks

Sec. 35-11k. Common law rights not affected

Secs. 42-111 to 42-115d Unfair or deceptive trade practices, generally.

Sections 42-111 to 42-115d, inclusive, are repealed.

Delaware

Del. Code, Title 6, Subtitle II, Ch. 25, Subchapter 3, §§ 2531-2536

Deceptive Trade Practices

Delaware Trademark Act

§ 3315. Common-law rights

District of Columbia


Michie’s Legal Resources

§ 28-3904. Unlawful trade practices

§ 22-902. Trademark counterfeiting

 

Florida


CHAPTER 495 REGISTRATION AND PROTECTION OF TRADEMARKS

495.161  Common-law rights

668.6075  Unfair and deceptive trade practices

Anti-Counterfeiting Act of 2008

Georgia

Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act §§ 10-1-370 to 10-1-375

O.C.G.A. TITLE 10 Chapter 1 Article 16 TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS, AND TRADE NAMES

§ 10-1-452.  Common-law rights in marks not affected

Hawaii


Hawaii Uniform Deceptive Trade Practice Act

 §§481A-1 to 481A-5

Hawaii §708-875  Trademark counterfeiting

482 Trademarks, Service Marks, and Trade Names, Registration

and Protection of

HRS_0482-0053 Common law rights

Idaho


Idaho 48-603.Unfair methods and practices

48-501 REGISTRATION AND PROTECTION OF TRADEMARKS

48-516     COMMON LAW RIGHTS


Illinois

815 ILCS 510 Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act

765 ILCS 1036 Trademark Registration and Protection Act

765 ILCS 1036/80 Common law rights

 1040 Counterfeit Trademark Act

Indiana


 IC 24-2 TRADEMARKS, TRADE NAMES, AND TRADE SECRETS

IC 24-2-1-15 Common law rights


Iowa


IA Code Sec. 548.101 Registration and Protection of Marks

548.116  Common law rights


Kansas


81-201 Revised Kansas Trademark Act

Kan. Stat. 81-217 Common law rights

Kentucky


KRS 365.561 to 365.613 State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal System of Trademark Registration and protection under the Trademark Act of 1946

365.611 Common law rights

365.100 Use of false brand to deceive

Louisiana


RS 14:229 - Illegal use of counterfeit trademark; penalties

RS 51:295 - Registration of confusingly similar trademarks, service marks and trade names prohibited

RS 51-212.  Registrability

Maine

Maine

Title 10, Chapter 206,§1212 Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act

Title 10: COMMERCE AND TRADE

Part 4: TRADEMARKS AND NAMES

Chapter 301-A: THE REGISTRATION AND PROTECTION OF MARKS HEADING: §1521. Definitions

§1532. Common law rights

Maryland


MD Code Crim. Law. 8-611 Trademark counterfeiting

Marlyland Code, Business Regulations,  Title 1, Subtitle 4 TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS, AND TRADE NAMES, § 1-401. Definitions

§ 1-402. Effect of subtitle (Common Law Rights)

Massachusetts


International Trademark Association’s Revised Model State Trademark Bill

Section 16: Common Law Rights

Michigan



Michigan Business Corporation Act (Act 284 of 1972), MCL 450.1101, et seq., Michigan Trademarks and Service Marks Act, MCL 429.31

Mich. Comp. Laws 429.44 Common law rights

Minnesota

325D.44 Deceptive Trade Practices


Sections 333.18 to 333.31 Trademarks and service marks.

333.30 MARKS ACQUIRED AT COMMON LAW

Mississippi


§ 75-25-1- § 75-25-33 Registration of Trademarks and Labels

§ 75-25-31. Good faith acquisition of marks

Missouri


XXVI Mo.Rev.Stat. Sec. 417.005-066 Trademarks, Names and Private Emblems

417.066 Common law marks not affected

Montana


30-13-301-336 Montana Code Annotated

30-13-336 Common Law Rights

Nebraska

§§ 87-301 to 87-306

Nebraska Deceptive trade practices


87-127 Trademark Registration Act -State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal  Trademark Act of 1946

87-143 Common law

Nevada

NRS 598.0915 to 598.0925

CHAPTER 600 - TRADEMARKS, TRADE NAMES AND SERVICE MARKS

NRS 600.440  Rights and remedies cumulative.  The rights and remedies enumerated in NRS 600.240 to 600.450, inclusive, are in addition to those to which an owner of a mark is entitled under the common law.

New Hampshire


NH Stat. 358-A:2 Acts Unlawful

 NH CHAPTER 350-A: MODEL STATE TRADEMARK ACT

NH Stat. 350-A:14 Common Law Rights

New Jersey


NJ Title 56 TRADE NAMES, TRADE-MARKS AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

New Mexico


New Mexico

N.M. Statutes, Chapter 57, Art. 12

Trademark Act [57-3B-1 to 57-3B-17 NMSA 1978] State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal  Trademark Act of 1946

New York


General Business Law 360-B (GBS Article 24)

North Carolina


NC Gen. Stat. 80-11.1 Criminal use of counterfeit trademark

NC Gen. Stat. 80-1.1 Purpose-State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal  Trademark Act of 1946

§ 80-12.  Violation a deceptive or unfair trade practice

§ 80-13.  Common-law rights

North Dakota


ND Cent. Code 47-22-01 Definitions Trademark


Ohio

Ohio Revised Code, Title 41, Ch. 4165 Deceptive Trade Practices


    Ohio Revised Code

    1329.54 Registration of trademarks, service marks definitions

Oklahoma

78 O.S. 1971 § 51 et seq. Oklahoma Deceptive Trade Practices Act


78 O.S. 1971 § 21  et seq. Trademark registration

D. W. G. Inc v. Gordon's Jewelry-Trademark and Trade Name Infringement case.pdf

Oregon

§§ 646.605 to 646.656

Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices


§§ 647.005 to 647.155 Trademarks and Service Marks

647.115 Effect of chapter on marks or trade names acquired at common law

Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania Trademark Act 54 Pa.C.S. § 1101-1126

§ 1126. Common law rights  

Rhode Island

CHAPTER 6-13.1

Deceptive Trade Practices

 § 6-2-01-§ 6-2-14 Registration and Protection of Trademarks

§ 6-2-14  Common law rights

South Carolina


SC ST SEC 39-15-1105 Trademarks and Service Marks

SC ST SEC 39-15-1180 Rights in marks not adversely affected by article

South Dakota


37-6-1 - 37-6-32 TRADEMARK AND SERVICE MARK PROTECTION

37-6-27.   Common-law rights in marks preserved

Tennessee


Michie's Legal Resources

47-25-501 - 47-25-518 Tennessee Trade Mark Act of 2000

47-25-516. Common law rights

Texas


Title 2 § 16.01- 16.31

§ 16.27.  EXCEPTIONS TO LIABILITY FOR INFRINGEMENT

Utah


13-5a-101 Unfair Competition Act

70-3a-101 Registration and Protection of Trademarks and Service MarksAct

70-3a-102 State Trademark Registration and Protection substantially consistent with the Federal  Trademark Act of 1946

70-3a-104.    Common law rights

Vermont


Trademarks; Registration of Name Or Mark §§ 2521 – 2575

Virginia


§ 59.1-92.1 - § 59.1-92.20 Virginia Trademark and Service Mark Act

§ 59.1-92.15. Common law rights

Act to amend and reenact §§ 59.1-92.2, 59.1-92.12, and 59.1-92.13 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the registration and protection of trademarks and service marks; penalties

Washington


19.77.010 - 19.77.940 Trademark Registration

RCW 19.77.900 Common law rights preserved prior to registration

West Virginia


§47-2-1 - §47-2-19 Trademarks in General

§47-2-16. Common law rights

Wisconsin


132.001-132.25  TRADEMARKS, BADGES AND LABELED PRODUCTS

132.25 Common law rights

Wyoming


§ 40-1-101 - § 40-1-116 Trademarks

§ 40-1-113. Marks acquired at common law


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PO Box 18716

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1-651-500-7590

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Call 1-651-500-7590 or email WP@NJP.legal for Responses to Office Actions; File or Defend an Opposition or Cancellation; Trademark Searches and Applications; Send or Respond to Cease and Desist Letters.

For more information from Not Just Patents, see our other sites:      

Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill   Abandoned Trademarks

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Patent or Trademark Assignments

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     TSDR Status Descriptors

Oppose or Cancel? Examples of Disclaimers  Business Cease and Desist

Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File    How to Trademark Search

Are You a Content Provider-How to Pick an ID  Specimens: webpages

How to Keep A Trade Secret

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    


Oppositions-The Underdog    Misc Changes to TTAB Rules 2017

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

Insurance Extension  Advantages of ®  ApplyTM.com

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register   $224 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Trademark-Request for Reconsideration

Why Not Just Patents? Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion   DuPont Factors

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks?

 Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress  

Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

SCAM Letters Surname Refusal


What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What to Discuss in the Discovery Conference

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  

Likelihood of Confusion 2d  TMOG Trademark Tuesday

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

Merely Descriptive Trademarks  

Merely Descriptive Refusals

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Register a Trademark-Step by Step  

Protect Business Goodwill Extension of Time to Oppose

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Change of Address with the TTAB using ESTTA

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Not Just Patents Often Represents the Underdog

 Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process   

Section 2(d) Refusals   FilingforTrademark.com

Zombie Trademark  

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register?

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

How to Respond Office Actions  

DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies

Published for Opposition     What is Discoverable in a TTAB Proceeding?

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses


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