Trademark infringement is a serious issue that can significantly affect your business. Understandably, you may need to protect your trademark because by doing so, you also protect your brand and your products. Trademark infringement, however, happens frequently, and there are steps you can take if this happens.
If you suspect someone is using your trademark, the steps below may help you.
- Ensure that your trademark protection and business registration documentation is up to date.
- The burden is on you, the business owner, to know if someone is using your trademark. Make sure you stay on top of your niche in the market.
- Discuss your suspicions with an attorney specializing in intellectual property who can help you assess whether this is an actual trademark infringement case. Often, it does not cross that threshold, but when it does, having someone who understands both the laws and the process to advocate for you can mean the difference between winning or losing your trademark.
- Contact the party you believe is using your trademark and ask them to stop. Attorneys do this all the time using a letter called a “Cease and Desist” letter. Usually, the information in that letter will communicate to the other party that their use of your trademark is an infringement and, thus, an illegal act. In many cases, the issue stops here.
- If none of the above works and you are confident that you have been a victim of trademark infringement, you can file a lawsuit against the other party. If you prevail, typical (but not guaranteed) results are monetary damages and for the other party to stop using your trademark, which is called an injunction.
Finding out that someone is using your trademark else can be upsetting and concerning for you as a business owner. However, with the right tools, you can determine whether the actions that raised your suspicion are trademark infringement. In addition, if someone uses your trademark illegally, you may be entitled to damages and an injunction against the other party.