It takes a lot of hard work to design a creative trademark and establish a brand name. It is very important to know that no one else is using your creativity for their own business. The question here arises is how to prevent others from using your trademark.
Listed below are the steps to guide you through protection:
Step1: Verifying your trademark right
The initial step in the protection of your brand is to review your rights, in case of someone else exercising your mark. This is the time to organize the basic documentation like certificates or proof of usage of your mark. Hiring a trademark consultant to review your rights and documents is a good approach considering their expertise on the matter. An expert helps put all the documents in place and also helps file for trademark registration if needed.
Small business owners sometimes think that it is not necessary to register their mark. But when some other company ends up claiming their mark as their own, that creates unwanted issues. It is not mandatory to register your mark as an unregistered one comes under common law rights as well. In case a lawsuit arises against your mark, the court is going to rule in favor of the company that has it registered or has been using it for a longer period. In this manner, set yourself in the most ideal situation by registering from the beginning.
Step2: Check for Trademark Infringement
The next step is to identify if trade infringement actually took place which means to be clear that your trademark rights are truly being violated from a legal point of view. To do so, you must be able to show that the infringing trademark is being used on the same or almost identical goods or services for which your mark is registered. Even if it causes confusion among consumers regarding the product’s origin, it still comes under trademark infringement.
For instance: Delta Airlines and Delta faucets are both in use -when you are redesigning your bathroom you aren’t likely to purchase an airline ticket by mistake. If another company is using your mark, ask yourself if a customer is likely to confuse their business with your own.
Another key factor is location. For instance; there is a grocery store with a name Mr. Jill’s in North Vancouver, BC and there is another store with the same name in Toronto, ON. This will surely cause trademark infringement and whoever has registered their mark will get an upper hand on the case. In case no one has registered, whoever has been using the mark for a longer period will have an advantage over the other.
Step3: Implementing your Rights
How the process works are, a trademark attorney begins by sending a cease-and-desist letter to the infringing business and asking them to stop using your mark. If the infringing business continues to use your mark, the next step the attorney takes is to file a lawsuit in federal court against them. You can ask the court to make the infringing business pay for any damage that infringement did. If the opposing party made any profit using your mark, you can ask for compensation as well.
Step4: Optimize Trademark Registration
Finally, for better protection, it is recommended to ask a trademark consultant to do an overall review of your brand. By considering your current business and upcoming development. The consultant will advise you to modify or extend your trademark registration. It could cover up the missing part of protection and ensure your business development smoothly without other infringement attacks.
For more information on how to register your trademark, please visit What is TRADEMARK?