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What is trademark infringement?

If you have recently created a trademark for your business, product or service, you want to ensure it does not fall into the hands of any other entity. Your trademark represents your product, brand and/or name. When someone else uses it, it may mislead consumers, destroy your reputation and affect your bottom line. Trademark infringement occurs when an entity uses a mark without your permission. There are steps you can take to defend your business against trademark infringement.

When you discover that another party has been using your mark, you should determine what type of action you want to take. You may contact the entity and inform them of the infringement or you may file a trademark infringement lawsuit. This will prevent the other party from continuing to use your mark and it may allow you to collect any monetary damages that have occurred as a result of the unauthorized use.

As a trademark owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that no one uses your mark. This involves continued monitoring for potential infringements, as well as filing claims against those who are committing infringement. When you register your mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it makes it easier to enforce and protect your mark.  However, you can protect a mark through common-law use as well. Online trademark search services allow people to search for marks that may be similar to their own. It is important to keep an eye out for any marks that consumers may confuse for your brand.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.