What are the principal and supplemental registers?

The federal register is comprised of two sections: the principal register and the supplemental register. The principal register is the primary provision for registration and entitles the applicant to all of the rights listed in subchapter 1 of the Lanham act. Applicants should always seek registration on the principal register before amending the application to the supplemental register. The supplemental register is used for marks that are not eligible for registration on the Principal Register because they have not acquired distinctiveness, but are capable of distinguishing an applicant's goods or services. The supplemental register will allow the owner to use the symbol and the registration will block later-filed applications for confusingly similar marks. Most trademarks on the supplemental register will seek placement on the principal register after sufficient time or exposure to establish secondary meaning.

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