Trademark Enforcement Issues
Trademark enforcement is the process of asserting your legal rights against trademark infringers. This may include cease and desist letters, filing infringement reports in online platforms, administrative proceedings at the USPTO, pre-litigation, and litigation. Brand Registry Trademark assists online sellers with trademark enforcement against infringers. We also help defend against claims of trademark infringement.
The first step in any successful trademark enforcement plan is conducting trademark monitoring to detect potentially infringing uses. Trademark monitoring is the process of adopting proactive measures to look for others’ use of trademarks that are similar to your own, so that you can properly detect and take action against potential infringers and preserve your own trademark rights.
Online Infringement Reports
Many online selling platforms (like Amazon.com) have their own means of receiving trademark infringement complaints and evaluating and acting on the same. Carefully crafted infringement reports to online selling platforms can be an effective way to enforce trademark rights. Likewise, knowing how to defend against such complaints by bullying or overzealous competitors can make the difference between being able to maintain your product listing and revenue source, or not.
Cease and Desist Letters
Many trademark disputes begin with a cease and desist letter from an attorney or law firm. The content of cease and desist letters vary among attorneys, but such a letter will typically: (a) assert trademark rights; (b) claim that the recipient is engaging in trademark infringement; and (c) make various demands, including immediate cessation of the alleged infringement.
A well-crafted cease and desist letter can sometimes effectively resolve a dispute without a formal lawsuit. On the other hand, because such letters seem authoritative and threatening, they can be abused; so, it is always important to analyze the legal merits of the underlying claims before taking action.
Trademark Opposition and Cancellation Proceedings
Trademark Oppositions and Cancellations are like “mini-lawsuits” in that are adversarial administrative proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to defeat the registration of a mark. Trademark Oppositions challenge pending trademark applications while Trademark Cancellations contest trademark registrations. These types of proceedings can be cost-effective means to enforce trademark rights and resolve trademark disputes.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Recording and Reporting
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides trademark owners the ability to record trademark registrations with the CBP, which helps CBP to detain and seize imported goods if they violate trademark rights. In order to assist with enforcement efforts, trademark owners may also provide more specific information to CBP about authorized manufacturers and importers and unauthorized shipments and imports. Also, trademark registrants can directly report suspected counterfeiting and trademark infringement directly to CBP.
Many trademark disputes and enforcement issues can be tackled or settled outside of a lawsuit through pre-litigation means. These means can vary from cease and desist letters (above) and similar communications between the parties, to alternative dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration, to Trademark Oppositions and Cancellations (also above). Pre-litigation can be important to properly frame and prepare for trademark litigation.
In some cases, enforcing trademark rights or defending against them involves trademark litigation. Trademark litigation is most often conducted in federal courts because trademark rights involve federal law. Litigation can be a serious and expensive endeavor. However, most litigation settles before going to trial. Litigation can be an effective tool for trademark disputes in some circumstances.
Contact Brand Registry Trademark today to work with expert trademark attorneys to enforce your trademark rights against trademark infringers or defend against claims of trademark infringement brought against you by others.