Trademark rights typically accrue through use of a mark in commerce. Often, a company using a particular mark may have trademark rights under state law for a geographical zone in which the mark has been used sufficiently to show that consumers in that zone understand the mark to indicate a particular source of a product or service.
Trademark applications can also be filed to obtain state trademark registrations for a particular state or to obtain a federal trademark registration that is applicable to the entire United States. Having a registration for a trademark can help place others on notice of the trademark rights a business may have in a particular mark. Among other things, registration of a trademark can also provide proof of ownership of valid trademark rights.