Merely possessing a trademark is not always enough for you to thwart copycats from exploiting your brand. There may still be those that attempt to mimic your trademark out of mere ignorance and call it an accident. In other cases, the infringer may harbor malicious intentions to damage your brand. Thankfully, there are methods for you to protect your valuable brand equity from these iniquitous imitators. You might just have to take a few metaphorical swings and punches at your trademark infringer. See the steps here:
Round 1: Send a cease and desist letter
If you have a registered trademark, you may have the odds on your side of the ring. But to actually knock out the trademark infringer in round one, you will need to enforce that trademark by drafting and sending a cease and desist letter, also known as a “demand letter.” This type of letter is an document sent to an individual or business to suspend unlawful activity (“cease”) and not resume it (“desist”). After your infringer receives this unhappy letter from your lawyer, hopefully you have won the fight at this point and the copycat stops infringing your trademark. If this is not the case, continue to round two and initiate litigation.
Round 2: File a lawsuit
If the cease and desist notices didn’t even make your trademark infringers bat an eye, tell your copycat to gear up for round two. You will want to hit the infringer where it hurts by filing a lawsuit against your opponent. If your trademark is registered federally, you can even make a federal case of the matter. This is often a necessary step when you receive no response from the cease and desist letter.
Round 3: Find injunctive relief
Should a judge determine that your brand’s trademark is being violated, they may grant you “injunctive relief” (court order (injunction) that the defendant stop using your mark). At this point, the offending party will be forced throw in the towel and stop using your trademark for good. You may also be awarded monetary compensation if it is determined that the infringement cost you or damaged your brand in any way. Your monetary compensation may be in the form of the defendant’s profits, any damages sustained by you, and the costs of the action. Be warned, though: trademark infringement cases are far from cut-and-dry these days. Much of this is open to the interpretation of judges.
Although these are great steps to protect your brand, trademark law can sometimes become a bit complex. This is why It’s best to have your trademark managed professionally to save yourself another round in the fighting ring. Remember, the best defense is a good offense.