Klein & Wilson

Protecting a trademark against infringement

California business owners recognize that a trademark is an important facet in a commercial world, enabling a company to establish its identity while encouraging easy recognition by customers. Unfortunately, successful trademarks can be easy targets for copying due to the desire of others to capitalize on the success of the companies that have created them.

There are various options for addressing and stopping trademark infringement. The dates for use of a trademark are not factored into consideration as attorneys for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office evaluate applications. However, the trial and appeal process may include consideration of dates of use. It may be important for a company alleging trademark infringement to substantiate claims of use preceding that of another entity. A company may also seek to cancel a competitor's mark by engaging in opposition proceedings. Trademark infringement action can also be filed in order to obtain an injunction against another entity's use of a mark.

Registration alone does not necessarily establish superior rights. Rather, rights are accrued by means of using a given mark commercially. Registering a mark with the USPTO is considered an indication that the company involved has a right to use that mark, but rebuttals may be provided in court against a presumption of ownership. For those seeking assistance with a trademark infringement case, it may be important to meet with a lawyer to obtain specific solutions based on the facts of the case.

A company with a successful product or service may depend on its trademark to promote sales or patronage, and misuse of a mark by a separate company could divert potential earnings away from the owner of the mark by implying association with a successful entity. A business owner may want to discuss damages and other issues with a lawyer while also endeavoring to halt the improper use of its trademark.

Source: Stop Fakes, "How do I prevent someone else from using a trademark similar to mine in the U.S.?", October 07, 2014

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