State trademarks are typically used exclusively in intra-state commerce, while a federal marks are those used in interstate commerce.  Interstate use of a mark is required in order to register a mark federally.  There is no requirement that state marks be used only in one state. Thus, there can be, and usually is, concurrent protection for a mark under both state and federal law. State and federal trademarks are always common lawmarks, because no matter where a mark is used, it is protected under the common law the moment it is first used in commerce anywhere in the U.S..

Registration of trademarks by the state or federal government provides additional protection beyond what is offered under common law. The benefits of registering a mark federally are far greater than those offered under state registrations. However, the process for registering a mark federally is more extensive, rigorous and time-consuming than it is for state registrations.