You may be surprised to learn that one of the easiest ways to get sued for trademark infringement is to file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Yes… let that sink in. Merely applying to register a trademark is one of the top ways that people wind up on the wrong side of an infringement lawsuit. To understand why, consider that all trademark applications with the USPTO are a matter of public record.
Say, for example, you have a logo that you’ve been using for years without issue. You believe that you have common law rights to the trademark and you now wish to protect it on the federal level. You complete your application with the USPTO and wait for a response.
Within days, however, other businesses, brands–and their attorneys–are alerted to your filing and the details of how you are using the logo in commerce. If another brand believes your trademark, logo, or slogan is too close or confusingly similar to theirs, or perhaps that they already hold rights to the mark you want, trouble starts to brew.
You may find that you receive a cease-and-desist or demand letter to stop using your desired trademark (which can be problematic if it’s already a huge part of your brand), and the situation can escalate from there into a formal lawsuit.
Can This Be Avoided?
YES! The easiest way to avoid triggering an infringement lawsuit is to work with an attorney to perform a comprehensive trademark search before you file your application! Your attorney will review what’s currently registered with the USPTO, as well as what’s pending and what may exist in other databases to ensure that the word, phrase, logo, or slogan you intend to file for can ultimately be protected.
Here at the Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC, this is something we do with all of our clients at the very start of the trademark application process. Not only does it shield them from unnecessary lawsuits, but it also spares the client from wasting time, money, and resources pursuing a brand that ultimately cannot be registered.
If you would like to learn how we can help you approach the trademark registration process in a more efficient and cost-effective way, contact our office at (888) 666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.