Supplemental Register is the secondary register of trademarks maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Supplemental Register provides limited trademark rights and benefits and consists of marks that do not qualify for the Principal Register, usually because they are non-distinctive and consumers do not associate these terms with a specific source (i.e., they lack secondary meaning). Descriptive marks, surnames, and marks consisting primarily of geographical terms are commonly placed on the Supplemental Register.
Most businesses use descriptive trademarks to market their goods and services, which end up on the Supplemental Register. For example, words such as "great," "sweet," or "super" might be part of your descriptive product name; however, those words aren't unique. Therefore, they would qualify as a Supplemental Register trademark.
Benefits of using the Supplemental Register include:
- The ability to use the registered sign (®) or language such as "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." to protect from trademark infringement;
- Permission to register the trademark outside the United States, as long as that country offers similar trademark rights and protections; and
- The right to collect money, relief, or damages if you win an infringement lawsuit.
[Last updated in October of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]