PROTECT YOUR BRAND WITH TRADEMARK WATCH SERVICES FROM THE BROWNE FIRM
There’s real value in your company and brand name, logo, and slogan—and you work hard to build that value. As your customers come to recognize your brand and as you build goodwill and a positive reputation, the last thing you want is for another business to come along and benefit from that goodwill, damage your reputation or cause confusion in the market. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself with a trademark.
Once you’ve secured your trademark, you’re protected forever, right? WRONG. It’s essential you file a trademark for important legal protections, but that’s the first step. It’s just as important that you continuously monitor potential threats to your trademark.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUOUS TRADEMARK MONITORING
Why is continuous monitoring necessary? Sometimes companies file for trademarks at the state or federal level that would be similar to yours, and sometimes their filings are successful. The biggest reason this happens is because current trademark holders aren’t aware that a potentially conflicting mark is being filed.
In theory, trademark examiners should catch ALL conflicts, but in reality they’re only human and the trademark database is extremely large, so often miss things when it comes to trademark applications. For example, let’s say a company wants to use the same business or brand name as yours, but they’re in another industry. If they’re selling products and services that are different from yours, and maybe they’re even catering to a specific geographical area, the examiner may overlook the potential conflict and approve the application. But you will have greater insight into the potential conflicts that could arise if the trademark is approved and you’ll want to take action sooner rather than later.
Another example would be if a company in your industry (or in a similar or adjacent industry) wants to trademark a business or brand name that is similar to yours. Or what if they want to trademark a logo that resembles yours in some way. The examining attorney may not realize how much confusion this will cause with customers who are already familiar with your brand and don’t recognize that a competitor is now riding on your reputation. You can’t wait until that happens—you have to get it front of it. And that means catching the trademark application before it is approved!
Plus, when you consider the sheer volume of trademark applications submitted every year across 45 classes of goods and services, it’s reasonable to expect that something might fall through the cracks. Companies submitting applications might make mistakes, too, that cause the examiner to miss potential conflicts. In many cases, the company isn’t necessarily intending to hurt you or purposely attempting to leverage your name and reputation. It’s possible they have no idea there’s a conflict. But even an innocent mistake can cause huge problems for your business and your bottom line. That’s why you need a way to continuously monitor potential trademark threats.
THE CHALLENGE OF DIY TRADEMARK MONITORING
Is this something you can do yourself? Sure—if you have the resources and the know-how. First, you’d have to carve out time to access the trademark database in each state AND at the federal level (not to mention the international level) and manually run searches in each of them. You’d also need to understand how to conduct comprehensive searches to make sure you don’t miss all the different potential conflicts—for example, phonetically similar names, alternate spellings, the same name in a different trademark class, and so on.
And you’d need to do this twice a month. Why so often? Because if you do catch a potential conflict, you have a very small window of time to file a challenge to that filing—and if you miss that window, now you’re looking at time-consuming and expensive litigation against a registered trademark.
It’s very time-consuming and tedious to monitor your trademark, and that’s why it might be tempting to just cross your fingers and hope yours stays safe. But that’s a risk you just can’t take with the business and brand you’re working so hard to build.
SOLUTION: TRADEMARK WATCH SERVICES FROM THE BROWNE FIRM
We do the hard work for you:
Biweekly review and reporting of conflicting mark detail based on multiple searches:
- Federal trademark filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
- Filings in each of the 50 states
- International filings with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
We will not only tell you which potentially conflicting marks are found, but we will give you professional legal advice about the actions to take.
We will also provide the deadlines for presenting an opposition to each conflicting mark (remember, this is infinitely easier and less expensive than waiting until the mark is registered!).
Once you’ve gone through the work and expense to register your trademark, commit to keeping it protected!
WHAT IF A CONFLICT IS DETECTED?
When you sign up for trademark watch services from The Browne Firm, you can feel confident we’re using the best tools for conducting thorough searches so we can notify you of any potential conflicts. We will also give you our recommendations for what to do if one is found so you can decide how to proceed. Possible actions would include sending a Letter of Protest (to the USPTO) or Notice of Opposition (to state trademark offices) requesting the trademark application be rejected. In some cases it might make sense to contact the company who filed for the trademark and either ask them to withdraw their application or negotiate with them about how the mark will be used so as to avoid confusion with your market.
If you catch a trademark application while it’s in process and before it’s been approved, you have more and better options than if you wait until after the mark has been registered. Once a conflicting trademark is registered, you’re probably looking at litigation. You’ll have to contact the owner of the trademark with a cease and desist letter, and you’ll have to file with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). The process is time-consuming and can be stressful and expensive. That’s why we strongly recommend you constantly monitor the applications for trademarks—so you can get in front of the situation and avoid the headaches and costs of litigation.
As you know, The Browne Firm is proud to offer flat fee services at affordable prices small businesses appreciate. Should we identify a potential trademark conflict, we would be very pleased to assist you by writing and sending cease and desist letters, letters of protest, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) filings, etc. at our affordable rates. Please note these services are not included in the monthly Trademark Watch fee.