It happens–one day you are surfing the Internet, searching your company and your products, and you stumble across someone using a very similar name or logo that is very close to yours, trying to profit off of the goodwill of your brand. What is the first thing you should do?
The first rule of dealing with any potential infringement is to do absolutely nothing. Do not reach out to the company, do not send angry messages through social media channels: just breathe. Once the initial shock wears off, it is very important to contact a trademark attorney so that you can evaluate your rights and what actions may or may not be appropriate in your situation. That all being said, here are the fundamentals of how to look for and handle a trademark infringement.
What is trademark infringement?
When an individual who is not the established owner of a trademark uses the mark, or one very similar to it, in connection with the goods and services for which it is registered in an unauthorized manner, trademark infringement occurs. This includes utilizing the trademark in such a way that would cause consumer confusion, marketplace deception, or an error regarding the source of the goods or services. The intention behind the infringement does not matter–whether or not the imposition has occurred on purpose, the trademark’s owner still has the right to defend their mark in order to prevent infringement and potential confusion in commerce from continuing to occur.