Trademark infringement, Part 2: Finding and addressing violations

In a previous post, we discussed a concept that is very important to both emerging and well-established businesses: maintaining a unique brand. A major part of protecting a brand comes in the form of trademark protection.

By registering a trademark, a process described in our July 4 blog post, businesses ensure that they have exclusive rights to words, names or symbols that are essential to identifying their brand. Even though a business may take the time to register a trademark, the unfortunate reality is that competitors and other companies may decide to steal an image and brand that has been thoughtfully cultivated.

The unfortunate reality is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office isn’t always the best ally in preventing trademark infringement. Even though the federal agency holds onto trademark registrations, it does not provide fail-safe guarantees against infringement. The office even indicates that businesses are responsible for monitoring and enforcing their own trademark once it’s registered.

As such, trademark monitoring is a service that some businesses may want to check into. Most business owners are focused on their day-to-day work that the specialized skills and dedication associated with trademark monitoring may simply be out of the question. This includes checking whether or not newly registered trademarks violate those held by clients.

At the same time, businesses may have to go to court. No matter whether an organization is defending its own trademarks from infringement or facing outside claims of infringement, the legal process in this regard can be very challenging. At the same time, failure to handle the issue of trademark litigation properly can result in major losses. Companies can unfairly profit off of another business’ registered mark. Or, on the other hand, failure to launch an adequate defense could result in a major payout. Either way, losses of any kind are something that businesses want to avoid.

Source: The United States Patent and Trademark Office, “Trademark Basics,” accessed July 15, 2014