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  • Writer's pictureTodd

How do I enforce my trademark rights?

Enforcement simply means protecting your trademark rights and making sure they are not violated by unauthorized usage by others. The most basic step you need to take to protect your rights is obtain a registration. Once you have a registered trademark, your mark is presumed valid and you are the presumed owner. This is a powerful status under the law.

You’ll also want to put others on notice that you’re protecting your rights. If you have a registration, you can use the coveted circle-R. If you fail to do this, you can’t recover profits or damages unless the defendant had actual notice of the registration.

If you don’t have a registration yet, don’t forget you’ll also want to provide notice. You can use the TM to assert common law rights or for a pending application that you filed, or you can use SM for service marks.

Now you have your registration and somebody else is using your mark. What do you do? The next step is probably to send a cease and desist letter. The approach you take to these letters can depend based on your factual circumstances.

Whether you send or receive a cease and desist letter, know that enforcement doesn’t always look the same and you need to talk to your trademark attorney about how to best proceed with your specific set of facts.

Ultimately, if a cease and desist letter doesn’t lead to settlement, you’ll need to file a lawsuit in court. This will typically be in federal court, but federal courts do not have exclusive jurisdiction over trademark issues.

Be sure to talk to your trademark attorney if you’re concerned about infringement and want to know how to enforce your rights in your situation.

Also, be sure to check out the video for some clever and funny cease and desist “letters”!

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you wish to schedule a consultation, let’s work together on your trademark needs


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