Trademark Infringement Attorneys
Improper third-party use of your trademark can be damaging to your brand’s reputation and financial status. This makes seeking out a trademark infringement attorney as soon as misuse occurs a necessity. While many of these issues manage to stay out of the courtroom, you should strive to find a lawyer with litigation experience in case it’s needed.
Do I Need a Trademark Infringement Attorney?
If your trademark is being infringed upon, hiring a trademark attorney is your best course of action. Although federal registration creates protections for your trademark, the government doesn’t actively police instances of infringement. This means the onus of responding to violations falls on you.
If you’re not actively defending your trademark, courts may decide that it no longer has protected status. Of course, attempting to file a trademark lawsuit over every violation can turn costly for your brand. Legal professionals will know the appropriate steps to take, and in most cases, this will result in an acceptable outcome without ever stepping into a courtroom.
There are many additional benefits of having an attorney when it comes to issues of infringement:
- An attorney can work towards taking websites away from cybersquatters.
- Trademark cease and desist letters from attorneys are taken more seriously.
- Attorneys have specific infringement knowledge on such as handling Amazon trademark infringement.
- Attorneys understand the appropriate response to varying levels of infringement.
- Attorneys can help avoid trademark litigation.
Dealing with instances of trademark infringement is a complex matter. Even if you’re able to properly research the issues and prove your case, the time and resources you’ll expend doing so will take away from the goal of growing your business. A knowledgeable trademark attorney can work toward a quick resolution while allowing you to focus on what’s important.
Accused of Trademark Infringement
Being accused of trademark infringement is a serious issue, and it requires an appropriate response. If you’re knowingly infringing and receive a cease and desist letter, you should discontinue your actions and count yourself lucky that a lawsuit has not been filed. If you’re within your rights to use a brand identifier, though, it’s beneficial to have a trademark infringement attorney on your side.
Having legal representation can help protect you if the case escalates. This is important considering the potential outcomes if you were to lose in court:
- A Judge could grant injunctive relief barring you from using trademark.
- You may be required to forfeit or destroy all alleged infringing items.
- You may have to provide monetary relief related to profits, damages and court costs.
- A Judge may require that you pay complainant’s attorneys’ fees.
These consequences could bankrupt an individual or company alike. Entrepreneurs who represent themselves in court rarely have a full understanding of trademark law. This could result in a valid defense not being presented, and you could lose your case even if you were within your rights.
A trademark infringement attorney can also be useful in keeping you out of court. Some intellectual property owners attempt to stymy competition by sending threatening cease and desist letters to assert rights they may not be afforded by law. In a USPTO survey 96 percent of respondents said aggressive tactics such as these are a problem in the trademark world.
Having an attorney respond to these letters lets the sender know that you’re serious, and it may put an end to any further contact.
Your Rights Are Contested Through the USPTO
Filing a lawsuit or sending a cease and desist letter are not the only options for contesting a trademark. If you’ve submitted a trademark application to the U.S. Trademark Office, third parties may try to prevent the process from moving forward. This is typically done because they feel approval of your trademark would infringe upon their rights. Your rights can also be contested after your trademark registers.
The following can endanger your trademark without ever being presented in court or a cease and desist letter:
- Letter of Protest: Third parties can submit a Letter of Protest to the USPTO examining trademark attorney contesting your application before it’s published. There is no government fee for doing this.
- Notice of Opposition: Third parties can pay a fee when your application is published in the Official Gazette to start a Trademark Opposition. Unless properly handled, your trademark application will be denied.
- Petition to Cancel: Once your trademark is registered, third parties can pay a fee to contest its status. A Trademark Cancellation is typically filed with a claim that a likelihood of confusion exists.
Trademark oppositions and cancellations are filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). This is very similar to a court case except it’s handled through the USPTO. Regardless of whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant, having an attorney represent you in TTAB proceedings is essential.
Choose the Right Trademark Infringement Lawyer
The USPTO and federal courts allow you to use any attorney that’s in good standing with the highest court of a state. That means you have over a million lawyers to chose from. Even though any of these legal professionals can take on your case, you should seek out an attorney that gears their practice to trademark issues. Moreover, you shouldn’t just chose a trademark attorney, you should chose a trademark infringement attorney that has abundant experience with trademark litigation.
What Constitutes Trademark Infringement?
If you’re unsure whether trademark infringement is taking place, it’s ideal to speak with an trademark lawyer before making any decisions. Having a better understanding of what constitutes a trademark violation, though, can help you make a more informed decision. Consider the following elements of trademark infringement:
- Ownership: First a plaintiff must prove that it owns a valid trademark.
- Use: Next a plaintiff must prove use by the defendant.
- Infringement: Lastly, a plaintiff must prove the consumers are likely to be confused.
To determine trademark infringement, a judge’s decision typically rests upon whether a likelihood of confusion exists. Brand identifiers are meant to ensure that consumers make informed purchase decisions. If use of a trademark could potentially undermine this goal, a finding of infringement is probable. Confusion usually only exists within the same or related trademark classes.
Trademark Infringement Attorney Fees
Trademark infringement attorney fees can vary immensely based on a variety of factors. For cease and desist letters we offer a flat $550 to either send the letter or respond to one. When it comes to suing an infringer or defending yourself, though, you should typically expect hourly fees.
What you pay an attorney can vary based on the following:
- Experience: The number of years in their specialization affects the cost of an attorney. The Justice Department found that typical fees can double from around $300/hr for lawyers with a few years of experience to $600/hr for those with over 30 years of experience.
- Complexity of case: Complex cases will require more time on research, discovery and motions than simple legal issues.
In California, you can expect to pay between $255 and $425 in hourly trademark attorney fees for an experienced legal professional. Not all cases that could benefit from an infringement lawyer, though, are charged on an hourly basis. If you need a help with a TTAB case, for instance, you could pay a flat fee of $550 to file an initial pleading or answer.
Neglecting to hire a trademark infringement attorney can turn costly. You could lose profits due to infringement, be held liable for violating someone’s IP rights or even lose ownership of your trademark. Fortunately, many cases end quickly. About 85% of damages awarded each year in trademark cases were in default judgments meaning that the defendant did nothing to defend themselves and then lost by default. There’s rarely a situation where you won’t benefit from hiring a trademark infringement attorney.
Monitoring Trademark Infringement
For a trademark attorney to hold infringers accountable for violating your rights, infringers must first be caught in the act. While the internet is an excellent tool for this, it has also made it easier to engage in trademark infringement. Utilize the following tools to monitor your brands:
- Google Search: Text and image searches can be utilized to identify instances of infringement.
- Industry news: If your trademark is infringed upon, it’s likely to come from within your own field. External industries likely won’t fall into the same trademark classes.
- Google Alerts: Manual monitoring of Google can be time-consuming. Set up Google Alerts for your brands. You’ll be notified when new uses are found.
- Search Amazon: Trademark infringement is a growing problem on Amazon. Conduct frequent searches on the site. Even sellers who simply use your brand identifiers to improve results are misusing your trademark.
- Google Ads: Competitors may be able to use your trademarks to target keywords to capture clients. Google Ads allows you to monitor who’s doing this. Keep a close eye on these competitors to see if they use your trademark in the text of the ad.
Policing trademark infringement is an important endeavor because our experience is that prompt action leads to the best results. If you choose to handle this on your own, these tools are the best available.
Mandour & Associates – Trademark Infringement Lawyers
We have many years of experience handling trademark infringement issues. Our practice is primarily focused on trademark issues so we have abundant experience filing trademark applications, handling oppositions and cancellations, and filing and responding to lawsuits all the way through trial. We are often able to get quick results. In contested cases that won’t end easily, we are aggressive litigators that will not stop until our client’s desired result is achieved.
If you are seeking a trademark infringement lawyer, please contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll help plan the best way forward.