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Ignorance is not bliss: Failing to police your trademark can backfire

The best way to build up your company’s goodwill is by using your registered trademark.  When others take advantage of your reputation by using your mark, your valuable brand identity is at risk. You have the right as a trademark owner to prevent others from using a name confusingly similar to yours.

There are many ways to be proactive and police your trademark.  A periodic Internet search is a good first step.  However,  it is likely that damage has been done by the time an infringing use of your trademark shows up as a top hit. 

The key to policing a trademark is consistency.  Most businessmen don’t bother to check for potential trademark infringers on a weekly or even a monthly basis.  A good trademark lawyer will recommend that you monitor the trademark registrar at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This gives you the ability to spot use or potential use of trademarks that may infringe on your registered mark.  You can then take steps, before the mark is registered and sometimes even before it is used, to stop the registration or use.

Policing your trademark is a best practice that any business with a valuable brand identity should adopt.  Trademark watches are an inexpensive proactive step.  On the other hand, the cost of letting someone else use your trademark can be significant blow to your brand identity.  Furthermore, the cost and headache of potential litigation to stop an infringing use can be expensive.

Written by
Dan Cotman
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