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Trademark monitoring helps ensure your mark isn’t encroached upon by others. By scouring websites and hunting through databases, trademark monitoring keeps you in the loop when marks like yours appear, giving you time to act.
Below, we break down how monitoring works, explore its benefits, and answer other common questions.
How Does Trademark Monitoring Work?
Trademark monitoring involves ongoing research that helps you find out whether your trademark is being infringed upon—or is at risk of infringement. If there’s a likelihood of confusion between your mark and a newer one, trademark monitoring helps you discover it.
How do I monitor my trademark?
There are two ways to monitor trademarks: manually and through software.
Manual monitoring you can do yourself or with the help of a trademark attorney. It can be a slow and cumbersome process, involving the regular searching of numerous websites and databases. The goal of all this searching is to discover if marks similar to yours are in existence, or if unauthorized use of your mark has occurred.
When monitoring your trademark, you’ll likely want to search sites such as:
- USPTO Official Gazette
- Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
- State business and trademark registries
- Domain registries
- Social media
Additional web searches based on your mark’s niche and industry may also prove useful. Setting up Google Alerts will assist with this research.
Trademark monitoring software does this work for you. It scrapes sites to find similar marks and sends you regular reports with the findings.
When should I begin trademark monitoring?
It’s a good idea to begin monitoring your trademark while your application is still working its way through the USPTO registration process and to continue for the life of your mark.
If you start monitoring when your mark is in the application period—or perhaps even earlier, when it has common law trademark rights—you waste no time in keeping your mark unique and yours.
What Are the Benefits of Trademark Monitoring?
The benefits of trademark monitoring center around keeping your trademark rights secure. Benefits include:
- Maintaining strong trademark rights
When trademarks similar to yours enter the marketplace, your mark can lose power if those similar marks continue to exist. Monitoring helps you learn about these marks in their early days, which gives you more time to act.
- Protecting against infringement
You can only take action against trademark infringement if you know that it’s occurred. Trademark monitoring keeps you in the loop.
- Proving brand activity
While the United States Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t monitor for infringement, they do expect trademark owners to do that work themselves. Neglecting to take action when infringement occurs, or to let trademarks that could harm yours be registered, may show that you’re not actively protecting your mark or brand. This can lead to lesser trademark rights or total abandonment of the mark.
Ready to take the first big step in protecting your brand? Use Northwest’s Trademark Service to embark on your trademark registration journey today.
What Are Remedies to Trademark Infringement?
When trademark monitoring reveals cases of infringement, it begs the question: now what? Your course of action will depend, in part, on where the infringer is in their trademark journey and how they respond to your demands.
- Opposing a published mark
Trademark opposition filings are submitted to the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in response to published (applied for but yet-to-be registered) marks. In an opposition, you explain how the registration of the published mark in question would damage your own mark. If the TTAB agrees with you, the published trademark’s registration will be halted. Initiating a new opposition proceeding comes with specific requirements, including a $600 filing fee.
- Sending a cease and desist letter
If a mark similar to yours enters the scene, a common course of action is to send a cease and desist letter. The letter will outline the ways in which infringement has occurred and your demands for stopping the infringement.
- Suing for infringement
If the demands in your cease and desist letter are not met, suing for infringement may be the next tactic. Whether or not it makes sense to sue depends on numerous factors, such as your financial situation and the harmfulness of the infringement.
Do I need a lawyer’s help when trademark infringement occurs?
Trademark law is no different from the rest of the legal world—it’s complex and difficult to navigate on your own. If you wish to act in the face of trademark infringement, it is often wise to seek the help of a trademark attorney.
Want to file an opposition or send a cease and desist letter? Northwest’s law firm, Law on Call, has experienced trademark attorneys who are ready to help.
Trademark Monitoring FAQs
How long does a trademark last?
A registered trademark can last forever if certain requirements are met. Federal trademark renewal includes a filing between years 5 and 6 post-registration, a filing between years 9 and 10, and a filing every 10 years thereafter. Additional requirements of trademark longevity include the continuous buying/selling of the goods/services promoted by the mark, as well as the mark maintaining its “distinctive” quality.
What if I don’t monitor my trademark?
Not monitoring your trademark leaves you in the dark regarding unauthorized use and infringement. Over time, this lack of knowledge can lead to a lack of action (i.e. not trying to stop infringers), which can lead to diminished trademark rights or a loss of rights entirely.
What is an abandoned trademark?
A trademark is considered abandoned if it hasn’t been used for at least three years and the trademark owner doesn’t intend to use the mark again. Failing to act in cases of infringement is one factor that can lead to abandonment, as it can show the mark hasn’t been properly maintained.
How much does a trademark monitoring service cost?
The average cost of a trademark monitoring service is around $200 per year. Most services of this kind fall within the $99-$500 per year range.