Fayetteville, AR Trademark Infringement Lawyer
Coming up with the perfect trademark for your business can be difficult. Not only do you have to create a trademark that is fresh and unique, but you also need to produce a trademark that catches the eye of consumers. That is why it is frustrating when another person or business infringes upon your trademark and profits from your hard work. Fortunately, there are legal remedies if another party illegally uses your trademark. If your trademark was infringed upon, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville trademark infringement lawyer today.
At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our trademark lawyers are prepared to help you protect your trademark. We understand the importance of maintaining a good relationship with the public, and we can help you hold a trademark infringer accountable for their actions. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your potential claim, call Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at 479-717-9068, or contact us online.
How to Protect Your Trademark
A trademark is a word, phrase, icon, or a combination of all three that is used to identify a certain line of products. Trademarks can also be used to identify a certain type of service. For example, if you open a coffee shop that creates special types of coffee and you name the coffee shop after an arbitrary word, that word is operating as a trademark.
Your trademark is likely the first detail a potential customer will notice about your product or service. If another business is illegally using that trademark, the consumer may wonder whether your company is linked with one of your competitors.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines trademark infringement as the unauthorized adoption of a trademark in connection with a product or service that is likely to confuse consumers. For example, if you sell custom-made surfboards and a similar business opens a mile away that uses the same name as yours, this could make customers think the same person owns the stores.
If you want to protect your trademark from infringers, the first action you should take is registering your mark with the USPTO. While you are afforded some common law protections without registering your mark, registering your trademark will increase those protections. For example, it may be easier to receive legal compensation if someone misappropriates your mark. Before you register your trademark, you should perform a trademark search to ensure that your mark is not being used by another business that is similar to your business.
There are several advantages to registering your trademark with the USPTO:
- There are several advantages to registering your trademark with the USPTO:
- The exclusive right to use your mark across the nation
- Places the public on notice of your ownership of the trademark and places your mark within the USPTO’s database
- Allows you to prevent importation of foreign products that illicitly use your trademark
- Foreign registration of your mark in certain countries
There are other advantages to registering your mark that is not listed above. To learn more about protecting your mark, you should consult with an experienced Arkansas intellectual property lawyer.
Applying for a Trademark in Arkansas
Before you apply for a trademark, you should conduct thorough research on the name or phrase you wish to trademark. As mentioned, you should perform a trademark search to ensure that no one is currently using the trademark you wish to register. Specifically, you must use the USPTO’s trademark electronic search system (TESS) to research your mark. You do not want to waste time and money applying for a trademark that is already taken.
When filing an application for a trademark, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your trademark qualify as a federally registrable mark?
- Can you easily identify your products or services from those of competitors?
- What is the filing basis for your trademark application?
Monitoring the status of your trademark application is important. The way to check on your application would be to use the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. You should check the TSDR system about every three to four months to ensure that the USPTO did not request more information to approve your application. If you miss a filing deadline, this can affect the status of your application.
Filing for a trademark is an intricate process that can take several months. After your initial filing requirements are met, the USPTO will then assign an attorney to examine your application further. Some of the factors that will influence the attorney’s decision include:
- Whether the application included necessary filing fees and followed applicable trademark laws
- The content of your written trademark application
- A search for any existing trademarks that are similar to your trademark
- An analysis of the drawing of your trademark and any similar illustrations
If your trademark application is denied, the attorney who examined the application will send you an “Office action” detailing the substantive or procedural reasons for the denial. You must reply to the Office action within six months of its mailing date to ensure the USPTO does not deem your application as abandoned.
If your application only requires minimal adjustments, the examining attorney will likely contact you directly to handle these issues instead of issuing an Office action. If your application is free of errors, the attorney will approve the trademark for publishing in the “Official Gazette.” This is a weekly publication by the USPTO that details new trademarks and other information.
However, publication in the Official Gazette does not mean that the application process is entirely complete. Other issues may arise, like another person or company challenging the trademark.
When to Sue for Trademark Infringement
One of the most important protections provided by registering your trademark is the right to file an action in state court or federal court for the infringement of your mark. To prove a trademark infringement claim, you must prove:
- That you own the mark in question
- Your rights to the mark have priority against the defendant’ claims of ownership
- The two marks are likely to cause confusion among consumers
If you prevail in your trademark infringement case, you may be entitled to a few legal remedies. For example, you may be able to obtain an injunction against the infringer to prevent them from using your mark. An injunction is a court order that orders an individual to perform a certain action or refrain from performing a certain action. Other legal remedies available after you win your infringement case include:
- A court order that demands the destruction of property that illegally uses the plaintiff’s trademark
- Monetary compensation that may be based on the profits an infringer earned while illegally using your mark
- Under certain circumstances, the defendant may have to pay your attorneys’ fees and other court costs
Our Fayetteville, AR Trademark Infringement Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim
If your business was a victim of trademark infringement, you should contact an experienced Fayetteville trademark infringement attorney today. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our legal team possesses extensive experience dealing with a wide variety of complex intellectual property cases. We can help you identify whether your trademark is being infringed and help you develop a legal strategy to prevent further infringement. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, call Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at 479-717-9068, or contact us online.