One of the largest mistakes that a new trademark owner can make is believing that once their trademark is registered, no further action is needed–on the contrary, the maintenance responsibilities that come with a federal registration are imperative to the mark’s well-being. In order to protect the trademark from infringement, owners must ensure that they have a substantial enforcement program in place.
The lengths to which a trademark owner enforces their trademark determines the scope of their rights within that registration. While it may be difficult to immediately quantify the investment made by a trademark enforcement program, protecting the registration is always a worthwhile expenditure especially when compared to the dollars spent during litigation. To properly defend their trademarks, businesses must prioritize the monitoring of their mark and the regular policing of the marketplace.
1. Monitor Your Trademark
The first part of any enforcement agenda is instilling the capabilities to fully monitor the trademark. Setting up a service specifically for monitoring incoming applications to the federal government’s trademark database is a great first step; this service will notify you if any new applications are overtly similar to yours and allow you to take action against any that may infringe upon your trademark rights. Many of these cases are settled amicably and prior to any true infringement actually occurring.
Additionally, setting up a Google alert is another strategic way to monitor any activity that may infringe upon your trademark rights. These notifications use Google’s search engine to find websites that mention the term you specify, allowing you to be immediately warned of content in which your mark, whether intentionally or accidentally, is named.