The Consequences of Not Protecting and Defending Your Trademarks


A trademark owner should be aggressive in protecting their trademarks for a variety of reasons. They are as follows:

1.  A competing business may use your trademark or service mark as their own due to the fact your business has built goodwill or has developed a strong brand.  This scenario can result in lost customers, sales, or business.
2.  Trademarks or service marks are essential advertising and marketing tools.
3.  A trademark owner can assert exclusive rights against a trademark infringer through cease and desist and/or litigation.
4.  A trademark owner can miss out on the opportunity to earn royalty income from licensing trademarks to others for use.
5.  A trademark owner can lose trademark rights if they are not vigilant in protecting trademark rights.

Number 5 is very important and I will explain how one can lose their trademark rights in greater detail. The failure to police a trademark can have significant legal consequences.  Policing a trademark includes:

Defending the mark against infringers by sending cease and desists or initiating legal action such as infringement lawsuits or temporary and permanent restraining orders;
Opposing trademark applications with the USPTO that are confusingly similar to your trademark;
Filing a cancellation action against any trademark that becomes registered with the USPTO that is confusingly similar to your trademark;

Inaction in policing your trademark can lead to a bar to sue for trademark infringement. In addition, failure to prosecute infringers usually is evidence of a weak mark. As a result, challengers can petition the USPTO to cancel your trademark registration.

In conclusion, once you have obtained a registered trademark, there is still work to do. Protect your trademarks at all costs to reap all the benefits that trademark ownership offers.

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