How to Enforce Your Trademark

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedJun 15, 2021
2 minute read

Your small business is your livelihood. Your customers know your business by its name and logo. So when your business’ name and logo are threatened by the competition, you want to protect them. How can you do that? You can enforce your trademark.

But what if you don’t have a trademark? Do you still have rights? Yes, you do. That’s what Litigation Attorney David Hannum explores in this article.

Need Help to Enforce a Trademark?

Whether you have a registered trademark or an unregistered trademark, you have a right to protect your business. Begin your case assessment with a member of our Litigation Team when you call 303-688-0944.

A lot of folks get confused about trademark law. If that’s you, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

We have the system of registering a trademark. We also have the little TM initials that we put at the end of a trademark phrase or a trademark logo; those mean that the trademark is officially registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

But did you know you can enforce an unregistered trademark? Yes, you sure can. 

Enforce Your Trademark that is Unregistered

You do not have to have an officially registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have an actual legally enforceable trademark.

Proving Your Trademark Was Violated

To establish that some other business is infringing on your trademark, even if it’s not filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you have to prove the exact same things that you do when you file for a trademark.

Here’s what you have to prove to enforce your trademark if it’s unregistered: 
  • you have a valid and legally protectable trademark associated with your business
  • your business, in fact, owns that trademark
  • an average buyer or customer would confuse your goods or services with the other business because they’re using your trademark

When you have a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you can very easily prove elements one and two: that there is a valid mark that is legally protected and that you own it.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will provide that proof for you, making your case much easier. However, just because you never got the name of your business trademarked or your logo trademarked does not mean that you are stuck if some other business opens up down the street with a similar name or logo.

You can still prove those elements without having an actual trademark filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Enforce Your Trademark

If your trademark – registered or unregistered – is threatened, let’s protect it. Our litigation attorneys can help you establish a strong case to enforce your trademark so you can keep your business’ name and logo protected. Begin your case assessment when you call 303-688-0944.

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