Tips for avoiding trademark Infringement: a guide for business owners

Tips for avoiding trademark Infringement: a guide for business owners

Yoland Moutama
Yoland Moutama
May 2, 2023

What is Trademark Infringement?

Trademarks are a type of intellectual property that protect unique phrases, logos, marks, or other design aspects which help consumers recognize your brand.

Unauthorized usage of trademarks that are already registered by a third party on goods or services that are identical or closely similar to those listed on the official registration is known as trademark infringement.

For a better understanding, let’s take Adidas as an example. If a competitor launches a shoe brand with the name ‘abibas’, they will be infringing the trademark of Adidas as the company name.

At this point, it is essential to mention that trademark infringement is not the same as domain infringement. Cybersquatting, also known as domain infringement, is when a third party registers or uses a domain name similar or identical to a registered trademark without the owner’s permission.

Before inaugurating a business, it is important to ensure that no other party has a registered trademark similar or identical to yours. If not, your brand might be the subject of potential legal action for trademark infringement.

How to Avoid Trademark Infringement

Getting involved in trademark infringement litigation can harm a business's reputation and is a time-consuming process. Subsequently, trademark infringement penalties can cost business owners millions of Dollars.

Here are a few steps that you should take to avoid infringements.

  • Do a Trademark Search Before Using a Trademark 

Before you officially pick out a logo and a name for your brand, make sure exact or similar words and illustrations are not already registered in your jurisdiction within your class of goods.

While other law firms charge a hefty amount for it, you can make sure that your desired brand name is available by doing a free name trademark search

Tip - Avoid using generic or similar names of famous, recognizable brands.

  • Register Your Trademark and Actively Use It

Once you decide on a brand name, register it with an Intellectual Property Office in your jurisdiction. For instance, if you are in the United States, file it with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

After registering your trademark, it is equally important to actively use it in advertising, sale, promotion, or services. If a trademark is not actively used by its owners, it might be considered "abandoned" and would be subject to cancellation by a third party.

You can indicate that a trademark has been registered by displaying a ® logo with official business websites and packages. On the contrary, "™" represents a brand claiming rights to a name that has not been registered yet.

  • Setting Up Trademark Monitoring

Don’t know whether other brands are infringing on your registered trademarks? 

By constantly monitoring other brands through a trademark monitoring service or an IP attorney, make sure no one benefits from infringing on your trademark assets.

How to Stop Others From Infringing Your Trademark

In the US alone, 3000+ trademark infringement cases are reported to the district courts annually. If you are worried that a third party is misusing your trademarks, here are potential ways how you can protect your brand reputation.

  • Trademark Monitoring 

If you are a registered trademark(s) owner and actively use it commercially, it is still possible for third parties to illegally use your marks. Unfortunately, trademark infringement in the form of counterfeits, illegitimate marketing, and duplication is common. 

Digip Trademark watch tool protects and prevents your brand from copycats by monitoring and reporting when a trademark application that's similar or exact to your brand is filed.

  • Document it

It is essential to keep all your trademark registration documentation cataloged. Documentation plays a fundamental role in proving first use or as evidence in legal proceedings.

  • Lawyer Up

Lastly, fight against infringers for what is legally yours with a legal firm or an IP lawyer. What’s better? Manage your trademark portfolio and monitor infringements through automation with Digip. Never worry again about high costs, billable hours, and late replies.

May 2, 2023
Yoland Moutama
Yoland Moutama
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