One of your brand’s most valuable assets is its trademarks – the recognizable design, sign, or expression that differentiates your products or services from those of others. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registers trademarks for companies, but it does not enforce them. Trademark owners are responsible for the monitoring and protection of their trademarks from unauthorized use. There are many reasons why you should monitor the use of your trademarks and different methods of doing so. To learn more about monitoring and protecting your business’ trademarks, speak with an intellectual property attorney today.
Why You Should Monitor Your Trademarks
The importance of monitoring and protecting your trademark cannot be understated. If a competitor misuses your trademark, they could steal business from your company. In addition to lost revenues you cannot control the quality of the products of your competitors, and they could be introducing low grade products into the marketplace with your trademark attached, further damaging your professional reputation. The same applies if this competitor has poor customer service or is involved in questionable or illegal activities but operating under your trademark sign.
Finally, if you fail to monitor and protect your trademarks, you could lose your trademark protection. Failing to police your trademarks could result in the trademark being designated as generic and open for anyone’s use. Examples of this occurring include aspirin, cellophane, and thermos. Thankfully, there are ways for you and your company to monitor and police your trademarks to prevent their unauthorized use in the marketplace, and an experienced intellectual property attorney in your area can help.
How to Monitor Your Trademarks
The most basic, and most labor-intensive, way to monitor your trademarks is to routinely check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filings to see if anyone has filed an application to register a trademark similar to yours. However, for most businesses and especially small businesses, this is a time consuming project that is easy to neglect or disregard for other more pressing needs. Many businesses are now turning to subscription services to monitor and protect the use of their trademarks.
A monitoring subscription service regularly checks for infringement on your trademarks in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. This service routinely checks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for similar trademark filings and can even narrow its focus to potentially conflicting trademarks across specific industries related to your company’s business. A subscription service can also check for deceptively similar trademarks, such as companies and brands that are off by only one or two letters and meant to purposely confuse consumers. To learn more about subscription services, talk to an attorney today.
If you have questions about how to monitor your trademarks you can probably talk to a trademark attorney.