Federal registration is not absolutely required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark but are limited geographically. Relying on common law rights may result to being “boxed” in by trademark owners with national rights.
Generally, the first to either use a mark in interstate commerce or file an intent to use application with the Patent and Trademark Office has the ultimate right to use and registration. However, there are many benefits of federal trademark registration.