Protecting your trademark is an important matter and, in many cases protecting your trademark is equally or sometimes more important than protecting other business assets. And, if an individual or organization uses a mark in a manner that is likely to cause confusion with your trademark, then trademark infringement may have occurred.
So, what are your options if an individual or organization has illegally used your trademark?
Start with a letter expressing your concern.
For some, the first course of action is to send a cease and desist letter. This is a good tactic, but it immediately sets an aggressive tone from which it may be difficult to recover. If you start with a letter with an agreeable tone (perhaps even suggesting a trademark license), you may avoid a bumpy road ahead. As a genuine mistake may explain the actions of a party committing a trademark infringement, a simple letter may be all that you need.
Next, make a stronger case with a cease and desist letter.
One common remedy for trademark infringement is an injunction. A cease and desist letter notifies the infringer of the infringement, demands that they end their infringement, and threatens legal action to obtain an injunction and damages. This method is usually preferred over filing a lawsuit immediately because you will expend considerable money and other resources fighting a lawsuit. Hopefully this letter can help you avoid such costs and legal fees.
If still no success: file a lawsuit.
If neither of these remedies worked, you can file a lawsuit in a federal court (assuming you have a federal registration). If you are successful, the court is likely to enforce an injunction on the infringer to prevent them from using the trademark. Further, you can pursue the following damages: (1) any profits made from illegally using a trademark; (2) any financial damages you have suffered as a direct result; and (3) legal fees. The court will assess how much these damages are and whether or not you are entitled to them or other damages.
A trademark infringement can affect not only a company’s product, but also its brand. And while you can protect your mark even if it is not federally registered, your odds of success are greater if you have a registration.
Towards that end, you should call Mighty Marks® to protect your trademark. You can call us anytime at 855-MYT-MARKS.
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.