Have you ever been curious as to what you need to do to protect your trademark both before and after you have it registered? Well, hopefully this article will answer that question as we will share “5 Ways to Protect Your Trademark”
Your rights are protected through Federal Registration, Maintenance, Renewal, Inspection, and Enforcing Your Rights. If you implement these protective measures, in conjunction with proper use of your mark, you will help preserve the ability of your marks to indicate the source of a product or service to consumers.
Registration gives a party or business the right to use the mark nationwide, subject to the limitations. Registration constitutes nationwide constructive notice to others that the trademark is owned by the party. Registration enables a party or business to bring an intrusion suit in federal court. Registration allows a party or business to potentially recover treble damages, attorney’s fees, and other remedies. After five years, your registered trademark can be considered “incontestable.” This means that you have the exclusive right to use the mark and this right is conclusively established.
Now that we understand how to protect our trademark rights through registration, let’s learn about maintenance. You must maintain the actual mark (company name, logo or slogan) by using it properly and being diligent. The main thing that you need to do to maintain your trademark is to always keep in mind the main purpose of your trademark. Remember, marks identify the source or origin of products and services. If your trademark is not serving this purpose, it is no longer recognized as a mark. Instead, the law views it as a generic term. You can avoid this from happening by continuing to maintain your mark and use it in connection with identifying your products or services.
It is important to renewal your registration timely. Once your registration is approved, you are given a certain period of time before you will need to renew your registration. Otherwise, it may be canceled by the government. Contact our trademark attorney for information on how to know when it is time for you to renew your trademark.
Many trademark owners list their most important marks with a trademark “inspection service”. Inspection services notify trademark owners if someone attempts to register a trademark that conflicts with their mark. This notice is important because it lets them file their opposition to the registration within the requisite time period. Receiving these notifications are helpful so that you do not find yourself attempting to grow your business only to realize that someone else has already registered your trademark in a competing market. This outcome might have been avoided if a trademark inspection were in place.
5. Enforcing Your Rights:
Trademark enforcement consists of pursuing adverse users. An adverse user of a trademark can be defined as someone who uses a trademark without the permission of the registered owner. It can also be defined as someone that uses a trademark in a less than proper manner. Enforcing your rights means that when you are made aware of infringements, you immediately contact your trademark attorney and have them legally provide notice to the adverse user to stop infringing or wrongfully using the trademark.
These are 5 ways you can legally protect your trademark. If you have more questions or need the assistance of a qualified trademark attorney, please feel free to contact us. Our consultations are always free.