Enforcing a trademark involves taking legal action to prevent others from using your trademark or a confusingly similar mark without your permission.
To enforce a trademark, the owner must first determine if there is standing to claim trademark infringement. This can be done by conducting a trademark search to see if there are any similar marks being used for similar products or services.
If infringement is found, the trademark owner can take several legal actions to enforce its trademark. One option is to send a cease and desist letter to the infringing party, asking them to stop using the trademark. If the infringing party does not stop, the trademark owner can file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to prevent further infringement, as well as seek certain monetary damages.
Additionally, the trademark owner can also file a complaint with the appropriate government agency or use alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration.
What tools are available to identify trademark infringement?
There are several tools available to identify trademark infringement, including:
Trademark Searching: Conducting a trademark search is the first step in identifying potential infringement. A search can be conducted on the USPTO’s website or through a private search service to see if there are any similar marks already registered or pending registration.
Monitoring Services: Monitoring services allow trademark owners to set up alerts for specific keywords or phrases, so they can be notified if someone starts using a similar mark.
Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to monitor for infringing uses of a trademark.
: Many online marketplaces like Amazon Brand Registry
, Etsy Reporting Portal
, Walmart Brand Portal
, and eBay VeRO Program
have strict trademark infringement policies, so owners can report infringement on those platforms.
Legal Action: If trademark infringement is identified, the owner can take legal action to stop the infringement and seek damages. This can be done by filing a lawsuit in federal court or by sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party.
: The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy
(UDRP) is an administrative process established by ICANN for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names
Can I enforce my registered trademark with the USPTO?
Yes, a trademark owner can enforce its trademark registration through the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). The TTAB is an administrative body within the USPTO that handles disputes related to trademark registration and infringement.
One of the ways you can enforce your trademark registration through the TTAB is by filing an opposition to a pending trademark application that you believe is too similar to your registered mark.
Another way is by filing a cancellation action against a registered trademark that you believe is too similar to your mark, and it’s likely to cause confusion among consumers.
Both opposition and cancellation actions are administrative proceedings in front of the TTAB and are an alternative to litigation in federal court. The TTAB proceedings follow similar rules and procedures as a federal court trial, but the TTAB is less formal, less expensive and faster.
Consult a Trademark Attorney
It’s important to note that, even though these tools can help identify trademark infringement, trademark enforcement is a complicated area of law and it’s advisable to consult a trademark attorney to help you navigate the process and take the appropriate legal action. If you need assistance with enforcing your trademark rights, please contact us to see how our trademark attorneys may be able to assist.