18 Mar Protect Your Brand by Policing Your Mark
Your brand is an investment. You spent time, money, energy, and effort developing your business’ reputation and the signature marks that distinguish your company’s goods and services as uniquely your own. As your business grows, these investments turn out to be very wise ones. Your brand and its marks may actually be some of the greatest assets your company owns.
To safeguard your investments, you may have even taken the first major steps to protect your business’ brand. Registering your trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the single best thing you can do to boost value in your marks. But, once the trademarks have been registered, what can you do to ensure that your trademarks continue to serve your business?
Don’t Let Your Mark Lose Value
Although registering a trademark is the first step in protecting your business’ brand, it is not the end of the story. In fact, there are a number of ways that trademarks can lose value if they are not protected and used over time. Last week, we wrote an article about the importance of continuing to use your mark after trademark registration. This week, we are diving into The Brand Protected ®’s top three tips to protect your brand by policing your mark.
Tip #1: Monitor New Trademark Filings
As you remember from your initial trademark registration application, the USPTO only grants trademark protection to marks that are distinguishable from those that are already registered. Now that your mark is among that protected group, the USPTO will now act as a gatekeeper to ensure that no new trademark applications come too close to your own protected mark. However, it is likely that your standard for when a trademark comes too close to your own is a bit higher than that of the USPTO reviewing attorney. That’s why there is a fail-safe included in your trademark registration. As a registered trademark owner, you are entitled to formally oppose any mark that could potentially infringe upon your own. How will you know when that happens? The USPTO announces new trademarks each week on its site. By monitoring these new marks, you will be the first to know if a newly registered trademark is too close for comfort.
Tip #2: Keep an Eye on the Marketplace
As we have discussed before, the highest and best trademark protections are extended when a trademark is registered with the USPTO. However, some intellectual property protections do exist at common law. This means that a mark begins accruing protections as soon as you, the business owner, begin using it in the marketplace. As a new registered trademark owner, does that concept raise a red flag for you? It should! Just as you began accruing IP rights when you started using your mark in commerce, there may be others out there using a mark that is similar to yours that you won’t catch simply by monitoring the USPTO website. Worse, there may even be someone out there who is illegally using your protected mark. How will you know unless you have a plan to keep an eye on the marketplace? Of course, the idea of scouring the internet on a daily basis to police your mark may seem a bit burdensome. But, there is another way, and that leads us to tip number three.
Tip #3: Delegate Your Trademark Maintenance
You are a busy business owner. Chances are, you are responsible for more than just the day-to-day operations of your company. You are likely also responsible for the big picture stuff, too! How in the world are you going to do all that, plus stay on top of your trademark to protect your business’ reputation? The answer is, you can’t. But don’t worry, there is good news! You can delegate trademark maintenance to an experienced professional who has the time, team, and technology to police your mark and take swift action in the case of possible infringement.
At The Brand Protected®, our experienced legal team takes our responsibility to our clients’ trademarks incredibly seriously. We know that your brand is the lifeblood of your business, and in a globalized economy, threats to your brand’s distinguishability are on all sides. We actively monitor both the USPTO and the wider marketplace to take early action against infringers. Our team stands ready and able to take enforcement actions to protect your precious intellectual property and brand value. If you are ready to learn more about how ongoing trademark maintenance can benefit your business, let’s talk!