Protecting your trademark | online trademark registration in pune india
Posted: Dec 20, 2017
Trademark is a unique word, logo, phrase or graphic symbol that is used to identify the source of any product or service. A trademark or service mark can mean a lot to a business. It’s what distinguishes one product from another.
In Online business, intellectual property is one of the most important assets and must be protected. Moreover, a trademark can be more than just a name or logo; trademark protection can be sought for unique shapes, patterns, and colors. However, to obtain advanced legal protection the trademark, one should register it and then closely monitor for any unauthorized uses. A trademark gives the right to prohibit others from using similar marks in the market that might confuse consumers. But how can one protect it from the competition? Here are some tips to help protect the trademark from getting misused.
1. Choose a unique mark: Trademarks should differentiate the source of a good or service. Generic names of a product or service usually don’t qualify for protection. One has to be creative! Generic terms like "hamburgers" are not protectable by trademark. One has to invent a word like KODAK which actually means nothing, or choose a mark that has nothing to do with the product; e.g. Apple for computers. Strong, unique marks not only strengthen the legal protection but also attract consumer attention.
2. Register your mark: One can register with the US Patent and Trademark Office (Uspto). National registration creates a legal belief that you own the mark. The USPTO prohibits the registration of nearly similar marks. This can help in stopping troubles before they start, and help in maintaining the distinctiveness of the mark.Once the registration is done, one gets the legal right to use the ® symbol.
- Use your mark actively: In order to protect the trademark, it must be first put into "use". The mark has to be used extensively in the commerce. Otherwise, it is possible that somebody else uses the mark or makes a sale first. The mark should be placed where it is visible on products and packaging. Commonly available marketing tools, including the website and social networking websites, can help towards establishing use if done right.
- Keep evidence of your early "use," with proof of date: A dispute over the unauthorized use of trademark often boils down to who can prove that they used the mark in commerce first. Sufficient evidence of the earliest use of the mark should be kept to avoid or prepare for such a dispute.
- Sleep with one eye open: If one wants to keep the mark protected, a close watch has to be kept and steps are needed to be taken to address any misuse.
Periodic searches for infringing use can help. If a business or person is seen using the trademark or one that looks similar, they should be contacted and asked to stop. The dates and locations of the infringement should be documented and a sample of the product should be kept. Particular attention should be paid to customers who purchase the product or service and who are confused between the product. If the confusion arises because of the similarity of the trademarks, then one can use this as evidence of infringement in a lawsuit.
- Use the mark as an adjective: The trademark should be frequently used as an adjective. Using it as a noun should be avoided, as it encourages people to think of the trademark as a synonym for the product, and the trademark often becomes generic. For example, "Kleenex" has become a synonym for a tissue. When a mark becomes generic, it can no longer be protected.
- Register with a trademark "watch" service.To monitor unauthorized use of the trademark, one can hire a "watch service’’. The function of watch service is to dig through various trademark registries to find copycats. These services normally cost a few hundred dollars a year.
- Maintain your rights: Trademark rights are maintained only through actual use. If one ceases to use the mark, then one can lose the legal rights to it.
- Use It or Lose It: Once a trademark is registered, though it is not important to include the ‘TM’ or ‘R’ every single time one mentions the company’s name, it is necessary to display it a lot, particularly in prominent places. Albert says. "Put it wherever you have a big display. The basic idea is that someone should see it if they’re reading an ad or a body of copy for your business. It’s to alert the public to what is your registered mark."
- Maintain Your Trademark: Trademark registration lasts for 10 years and is renewable for the additional 10-year duration. But to maintain it, one has to file maintenance documents between the fifth and sixth year after registration, between the ninth and tenth year after registration, and every 10 years after that. If a deadline is missed, the trademark registration will be canceled. In addition to managing the mark on an ongoing basis to retain the rights, maintenance documents also need to be filed. If not, the trademark will be canceled.
What to do in case of infringement?
Trademark infringement is a violation of the rights relating to a registered trademark without the permission of the trademark owner. Infringement may occur when the infringer uses a trademark which is identical or nearly similar to a registered trademark owned by another person, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers. The owner of such registered trademark may embark on legal proceedings against the infringer.
Following are some of the remedies available to the owner of a trademark for unauthorized use of the trademark by a third party.
- Demand that the alleged infringer stop such infringement
- Demand that the person who acts in a way likely to infringe on the trademark at issue take preventive measures or
- Demand the destruction of products constituting or resulting from such infringement, the elimination of equipment used for such infringement, and any other measures necessary to prevent such infringement.
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