Obtaining trademark rights is only half the battle – once you have established trademark rights either through use of the mark in commerce or through state or federal registration, you will immediately need to begin policing the use of your trademark to ensure that others are not infringing on your rights. To many, policing, or monitoring, trademarks in a new and unfamiliar process. Below are some tips on how to go about policing your trademark rights.
Hire A Lawyer to Set Up Monitoring Services
Your lawyer can set up a monitoring service that periodically conducts searches for infringement of your trademarks. The search will look for unauthorized uses of your trademarks, as well as the use of trademarks that are confusingly similar to your own. If you have licensed your trademarks for use by another, the search can also review your licensees’ use of the marks to ensure that your licensees’ use of the marks is in compliance with the terms of the licensing agreement.
Monitoring searches often utilize a combination of techniques for monitoring the use of trademarks, such as conducting regular internet searches, performing reviews of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark database, and utilizing a variety of other monitoring tools and techniques.
Based on where your trademarks are used in commerce (domestically or internationally) and whether your trademarks are federally registered, it may make sense for the geographic scope of your monitoring to be limited to only where you use the trademarks. For instance, trademarks that are based on common law protections would have rights that exist only in the geographical area where the trademark is used. Similarly, trademarks that are only registered at the state level and are only used in the state would only require monitoring within the state.
When Potential Infringement Is Discovered, Take Action
If potentially infringing activity is discovered, it is critical that steps be taken immediately to put a stop to it. Waiting to act can result in a loss of your rights. When infringement is discovered, you should speak to a trademark infringement lawyer as soon as possible about what legal options are available to you. Based on your circumstances, you may have a variety of legal tools at your disposal, such as:
- Issuing an informal notification to the infringer asking them to stop.
- Sending a cease and desist letter to formally put the infringer on notice that the infringing actions must stop or else further legal action will be taken.
- Requesting a Take-Down Notice be sent to the infringer if the infringement occurred on an online retail platform.
- Initiating settlement/licensing negotiations with the infringing party.
- Initiating a trademark infringement litigation.
Reach Out to One of Our Trademark Lawyers Today
The trademark lawyers at The Rapacke Law Group are highly knowledgeable about trademark matters and we are ready and prepared to help you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss your particular circumstances and to see how we can help.