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Many believe that a trademark registration is the final step in protecting their intellectual property. That is not the case. Once a trademark registration issues, an owner still must ensure the success of its trademark. A trademark owner is responsible for prompt and complete responses to any actions that may impact their trademark registration.
Ongoing policing of a trademark registration
A trademark owner should beware of certain things. Cease and desist letters; Letters of Protest; Opposition and Cancellation Proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board can impact an application or registration. Policing a trademark involves monitoring other applications, the Internet and other uses of the same or similar mark in commerce, and stopping any infringement.
The most effective way to monitor other USPTO trademark registration applications is to use a third-party watching service. These services alert a trademark owner of new applications using the same or similar marks. Some third-party services also alert a trademark owner to domain names registered under similar marks. Most social media platforms offer reporting mechanisms for infringing material, whether that material is a single photo or an entire social media page under the same or a similar name. For example, if a trademark owner discovers another business offering the same goods under the same or similarly named Facebook page, the trademark owner can file a trademark infringement report.
Submitting an intellectual property infringement report carries serious consequences. Restoring the removed page can involve significant time and effort. In some cases, Facebook or Instagram may not be able to put the removed page back up. Submitting misleading reports of trademark infringement is never recommended.
In addition to monitoring social media, sending cease and desist letters helps stop trademark infringement. Cease and desist letters put others on notice of trademark infringement. These informal communications often quickly and amicably resolve disputes without going to court.