Enforcement Of Trademarks Under The US Trademark Law
Trademarks are valuable business assets for many companies that are built through reputation and goodwill. They can be misused through dilution, infringement, unfair competition, cybersquatting, tarnishment, and false advertising. Even a trademark owner who practices vigilance might not locate all the potential misuses of his/her trademark by the public or competitors. That said, failing to enforce trademarks by regular monitoring of the mark for misuse can lead to a loss of distinctiveness and weakening of the mark. This can further result in a loss of your trademark.
As a trademark owner, you can legally enforce your rights if you suspect any foul play. If a competitor is using your trademark in association with their own services or products, it can confuse the consumers regarding the actual source of the services or products. Even further confusion can be caused if the infringing trademark is used in a similar geographic location as yours. This will not just affect your business but also lead you to lose loyal customers. In such a situation, you can enforce your rights as a trademark owner under the US Trademark Law.
Infringement and Cease & Desist Letters
The majority of infringement actions start with cease and desist letters that are sent to the infringer, instructing him/her to stop the usage of the mark immediately. Infringement lawsuits can be expensive, and in most cases, most people will stop their infringement activities when they know that the owner of a mark is legally asserting his/her rights under the US Trademark Law. You can also send more than one cease and desist letter in some situations or enter into negotiations. However, if the infringer continues with the infringement activities, you have the right to file a lawsuit to put an end to the misuse. In addition to that, if you have registered the mark with the USPTO, filing a lawsuit in federal court becomes easier, as a federal registration serves as an evidentiary presumption of your ownership of the mark and its validity. On the other hand, if your mark is unregistered and the infringer is using the mark in the same state as yours, the state court may resolve the dispute based on your common law trademark rights.
If the lawsuit is filed in federal court, as a trademark owner, you will be required to prove that the mark can potentially be confused by consumers, and your business has suffered/continues to suffer damages because of the infringement. Courts usually award an injunction so that further infringement is stopped. That said, in some cases, you might also get monetary damages. Moreover, if the infringer in question has acted in bad faith and copied your trademark knowingly or unknowingly, the court may ask the infringer to release its profits and pay the attorney’s fee as well as additional damages.
Dilution Of Famous Marks
Under some state and federal laws, you can even sue a party to prevent the misuse of your trademark if it is famous, and there is a possibility of others weakening the reputation of the mark or diluting it through overuse. You can also sue to maintain the quality of the mark and ensure it is not rendered generic in the future. You can only bring dilution lawsuits for famous marks. It is up to the allegedly famous mark’s owner to prove the mark has become famous as a threshold to bringing a dilution claim in court.
What is the difference between infringement and dilution? Dilution can apply even in cases where the specific services or goods that are sold under the senior, famous mark are not closely related to the services or goods sold under the junior mark. On the other hand, there can only be an infringement if the goods and/or services sold by the respective parties are deemed to be commercially related. .
Failure To Enforce A Mark
Trademark owners are required to protect their trademarks by using the mark in the marketplace as an identification of their services or products and by policing the mark. Failure to enforce your trademarks against potential infringers can result in significantly weakening the scope of your mark’s protection, or even potentially losing all rights to your mark entirely.
Trademark.Legal Can Help You With The Best Attorneys In Los Angeles County
Trademark.Legal is a professional law firm in Los Angeles County, California that can help you protect, overcome, win, and enforce your trademarks. We have a team of intellectual property attorneys and trademark defense attorneys with years of experience under their belts. They can help you prepare a strong defense of trademarks or help you with USPTO applications according to your needs.
International trademark protection can be secured through trademark registration, and our competent attorneys can help you with applications, renewals, and much more. Hence, if you have been scouring the web searching “intellectual property attorney near me,” your search ends at Trademark.Legal.
For further information, feel free to get in touch with us at 323-553-1541 and firstname.lastname@example.org.