TRADEMARK LAW 101 Part 6- TM BASICS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS



Now that I have a registered trademark what should I do?


Use the ® symbol: Only registered trademarks are permitted to use the ® symbol (the TM is for unregistered marks). Use the circle R wherever your registered trademark is displayed. This symbol gives notice to others that the trademark is registered and exclusively yours to use. This in turn bolsters your ability to make an infringement claim against those that might make unauthorized use of your mark.


Monitor the Use of Your Trademark:

If you register your trademark but don’t enforce your rights of exclusive use of your trademark then you risk losing your registration. One aspect of this requirement is based on a mark becoming generic and losing its distinctive character. When an otherwise distinctive trademark is used frequently by others, including the consumers, they are at risk of being construed as having become generic. Trademark owners must remain diligent in warning others from using the registered mark so as to avoid losing their registration. Sometimes the warning can be heavy handed, but other times it is done with humor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRi8LptvFZY.


All branding strategies should include trademark monitoring. A trademark lawyer can help monitor and assess the risk of others’ use of other similar marks. When unauthorized use is discovered, it is imperative to bring it to the attention of the infringer and insist that the use stop. Typically, this is done by way of your trademark lawyer sending a cease and desist letter to the other party.


Licensing Agreements for Third Party Use: If anyone or any other entity is using a registered trademark other than the owner of that trademark a written licensing agreement is necessary to confirm the right to use the mark, and the limitations of that right. A licensing agreement is needed not only for arm’s length agreements, but also between related entities such as parent/subsidiary companies. The risk of not having a licensing agreement is the loss of trademark registration and the loss of the right to the exclusive use of the trademark. Licensing agreements limit the rights of the non-owner using the trademark and obligate that user to follow the owner’s rules for using the trademark including monitoring the use of the trademark by unauthorized users (infringers).


To find out more about trademark registration, trademark monitoring, or licensing your trademark contact us to schedule a consultation.


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