Once you have your registered trademark, you need to ensure that no one’s out there trying to pass it off as his or her own. Unfortunately, trademark infringement happens but it doesn’t have to ruin all of the hard work that you put in. Here are some tips on monitoring your trademark or infringement both nationwide and around the globe.
What Is Trademark Infringement?
It might be good to start off with a proper definition of trademark infringement. This is when an individual or company uses your trademark without your consent. This kind of unauthorized usage can result in confusion and legal troubles.
Even with trademark registration, it is still possible for others to commit infringement, using your trademark to promote their own goods and services and boost their reputation. Those who suspect that they are victims of trademark infringement may decide to take legal action in state or federal court.
When the matter is taken to court, there are a few ways that the parties can figure things out. One of these means is an injunction which is an order from the court demanding that the other entity stop using your trademark.
The judge may also order that the violator destroy all evidence of his or her unauthorized use of your trademark. Any profits that the violator made due to the infringement may be awarded to you. In addition, he or she may need to provide you monetary compensation for any damages that you incurred due to the infringement.
Why You Should Monitor for Trademark Infringement
It can be annoying but monitoring for trademark infringement is a solid business practice. You need to make sure that your business remains in good standing with your clients and the general public. Think about the consequences of someone else using your registered trademark.
The result could be confused or even angry customers. You certainly do not want your client base to be upset that you aren’t delivering on your promises or that you’re all of a sudden providing unrelated goods and services. If people are illegally using your trademark, who knows what kind of trouble they could be getting your business into. In order to avoid all of this confusion and deception, trademark infringement monitoring is a must.
The Monitoring Process
So how do you monitor for trademark infringement? You can start by checking in with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to see their trademark filings. Here, you can see if anyone has tried registering for the same trademark as you. While the USPTO is in charge of trademark registration, they don’t necessarily check if applicants are using someone else’s registered trademark. Therefore, you need to take a proactive approach and check the filings regularly.
If that seems as if it would be too much for you right now, then you might want to consider delegating that responsibility to someone else. There are services out there that will monitor for trademark infringement on a routine basis so that you can rest assured knowing that your name and reputation are safe. Paying for such a service might be well worth it, especially if you don’t have the time to regularly check in with the USPTO.
Global Infringement Monitoring
If you’re worried about overseas trademark infringement, your best bet is to apply for international protection. There are a few ways to do this, including through the Madrid Protocol, which is an agreement between 121 nations including most of the industry- and trade-heavy countries in the world.
International protection is the best defense against trademark infringement on a global scale. You have a better chance of catching unauthorized use of your trademark; plus, you’re legally protected against their misuse.