Michael W. Schroeder
Trademark Infringement: Can An Attorney Help You?
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Trademarks are important for businesses as these tools help them distinguish their services and products from others in the marketplace and increase consumer goodwill, leading to broader brand recognition and improved sales. If you have reason to believe that another entity is infringing your trademark, you might want to seek an injunction by filing a lawsuit. An injunction is a court order that will instruct the competitor to stop the infringing use of a confusingly similar mark. Successful infringement lawsuits can also get you money damages for the inconvenience and loss you faced. Hiring a competent attorney here can stand you in good stead because, as a layperson, you might not be very clear on the basis of trademark infringement.
For instance, how should you proceed if you believe someone is infringing your trademark? If you own a bakery called “Sweet Truth” in a city and you travel to another city where you find another bakery selling goods under your name, what would your next steps be to stop this infringement? Although availing yourself of the services of an attorney is crucial at this point, take a minute and check out the article below to understand if a lawsuit can really solve the problem at hand.
Is It Actually Trademark Infringement?
The very first question you must address when facing a trademark issue is whether or not your trademark, or another’s, is federally registered. Simply by registering your trademark, you can get nationwide rights to use the mark for your category of goods and services.
If your trademark is federally registered, your infringement case automatically becomes stronger if another business tries to use the same or a similar name in a category of goods and services similar to yours. However, if your trademark is not federally registered, you may possibly still be protected from infringement under the unfair competition laws of your state. Broadly speaking, other businesses will not be able to sell identical goods and services or open across the street from you. That said, state laws do not protect you if a business selling identical goods and services opens across the country. Taking the example given above, you will likely not be able to file a lawsuit or sue a bakery with your name in another city, but you can do it in your own city under the unfair competition laws of your state. In any case, when facing a potential infringement issue, having a federally registered trademark can make or break your case.
In this regard, a good trademark attorney can help you understand the ins and outs of trademark law in the country. It is also a good idea to hire a competent and experienced lawyer to help you with the registration process so that you can get your mark federally registered in a smooth and hassle-free manner.
Filing an infringement lawsuit is a common strategy in such cases where you can request the court to grant you emergency relief until the final decision of the case. This relief is usually called a temporary or preliminary injunction where the alleged infringer is ordered to stop the usage of the mark until the lawsuit reaches an outcome. The party who initiates a trademark lawsuit and successfully receives an injunction from the court usually has a much better probability of reaching a favorable settlement because an injunction puts the infringer at a disadvantage from the outset, disrupting their business. You should be able to convince the court of the following facts to get a preliminary injunction smoothly:
● Your business will face great losses and suffer irreparable injury if it does not grant emergency relief.
● Your case is adequately strong for you to win at a trial.
Can An Attorney Help In A Trademark Infringement Case?
One should never let a perceived infringement go completely ignored. If the infringer refuses to comply with the guidelines stipulated in your cease and desist letter, going to court is your best course of action. Hiring a competent attorney from the onset, whenever you believe your mark is being infringed, is essential to protect your brand from potentially long-lasting and/or irreparable damage.
An experienced trademark attorney can properly assess the strength of your case and provide you with a thorough analysis of your available options. Additionally, it is important to realize, even if you have a federal trademark registration, you can lose your rights to your own mark entirely if there is widespread infringing use by third parties and you fail to enforce your rights. In certain instances, litigation may be the only effective enforcement mechanism available. A skilled attorney can advise you on the necessary steps, costs, and in certain circumstances, the possibility of recouping monetary damages and/or attorney fees at the conclusion of a trial. Furthermore, having an attorney specialized in trademark disputes represent your case from the beginning will provide you with the best opportunity of negotiating a favorable outcome directly with the infringer and/or their represented counsel.
Remember that when it comes to trademark cases, there is no golden rule. Although many of these cases end up settling, there exist other legal remedies that you can seek to preserve your rights and protect your brand. The thing to keep in mind here is that what you don’t know can potentially hurt your case, and this is where a trademark attorney comes into the picture.
Trademark.Legal is a law firm in Los Angeles County, California, which is dedicated to all aspects of trademark law, offering individuals and businesses the opportunity to protect, grow, enforce, and develop their intellectual property rights. We offer superior representation and counsel in legal trademark matters at cost-effective prices. You can count on our highly experienced team of trademark lawyers to protect your business domestically and across the globe. Call our attorneys for a consultation today!