Creating and registering a trademark are two important steps in defining and distinguishing your business from others.
You may also need to proactively protect your trademark. Otherwise, your business could be exposed to reputation damage, among other losses such as diluting the power of your mark. If you believe someone has infringed upon your trademark, or if you have been falsely accused of infringement, you should waste no time in taking legal action to right the wrong.
Fighting against trademark infringement
Trademark infringement happens more often than you might think. Following are some steps you can take to protect your trademark or servicemark:
- Register the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark can be valid and protected without registration with the USPTO, but it's prudent to register the mark anyway. Doing so provides documentation that is clear for a court to see in the event that litigation becomes necessary.
- Use the mark. You can protect your trademark by putting it into "active use" in a marketplace. You don't even have to actually sell anything, as long as you're offering a good or service under your mark.
- Send a "cease and desist" letter. This is a common response to news that someone is infringing on a trademark. The infringing mark doesn't have to be identical to yours -- only similar -- and the letter demands that the other party immediately stop using the infringing mark. If the other party ignores the letter or otherwise fails to cease and desist, you can take the matter to court.
- Create and register a trademark for the future. If you have an idea for a product but you don't yet have the means to offer it to the public, you can still file an "intent to use" trademark registration.
In many cases, it is appropriate to seek damages for losses resulting from trademark infringement. For more on these matters, please see Sturm Law PLLC's overview of trademark law. We advise and represent business clients in Houston.