An unregistered trademark lacks many means of protection against infringement. However, simply registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on your own does not always mean that the mark will be completely protected, because you may make common errors that open your mark up to infringement. The legal process of trademark registration is complicated and requires the precision of an experienced attorney.
One of the most common errors trademark owners make when trying to file a trademark without an attorney is failing to review the federal and state databases of previous trademarks. Most importantly, you want to be sure that your trademark is not similar to a “common law” trademark, which are unregistered trademarks that were developed through commercial use.
In addition, failing to properly describe your mark can open up opportunities for potential infringement. After a trademark is registered, it is up to the owner to defend and monitor it. These days, defending and monitoring a trademark has become a complicated business since the advent of the internet. For example, Amazon was recently caught infringing on the trademarks of the company Lush through very subtle means.
Anytime a consumer would use Google to find Lush products, they would view Amazon advertisements for similar products in Google’s sponsored advertisements, also known as Google AdWords. Lush has built its brand around ethical beauty products, which cannot be said for the products Amazon was advertizing. As such, confused consumers would assume that the Amazon products were Lush products, resulting in lost profits.
These types of subtle infringements are becoming increasingly common, so it is advised that you file your trademark under the guidance of an experienced trademark infringement attorney. If you are considering registering a trademark, Los Angeles trademark attorney Robert G. Klein can help. Our Los Angeles Trademark attorneys have over 25 years of experience working in all areas of intellectual property litigation. For more information, contact us. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our Los Angeles trademark lawyers, call us today at (323) 653-3900 ext. 110.
[Did You Know: In the first month and a half of 2014, 70,334 trademarks had been federally registered, according to the USPTO.]
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