A trademark (or service mark) is generally a word or logo which identifies the source of goods or services. Trademarks act to distinguish goods from the goods of competitors. Over time‚ trademarks tend to establish consumer goodwill based on quality. GOOGLE and MERCEDES are examples of trademarks. An Internet domain name‚ trade dress‚ sounds‚ colors‚ and other designations may also function as a trademark. Our law firm handles trademark matters throughout southern California including Orange County (Irvine)‚ Los Angeles and San Diego.
Trademark prosecution and registration is the process of filing a trademark application‚ prosecuting the application with the Trademark Office until it registers‚ and then keeping the registration renewed so long as the trademark is in use. A trademark can last forever so long as it is continuously used in commerce in relation to the goods or services as issue. A business can also acquire common law trademark rights by use of a trademark in commerce even though an application has not been filed. While common law trademark rights are better than no rights at all‚ common law rights are not as significant as having a registered trademark. As such‚ the best advice is to file a trademark application at the earliest opportunity. For more information‚ please see our Trademark Registration page.
A trademark infringement occurs when two businesses use confusingly similar trademarks simultaneously. A trademark owner has a duty to police confusingly similar uses. If a trademark is not policed‚ it can lead to a loss in trademark rights. As such‚ all trademark owners should regularly police a trademark by searching for similar uses and then requesting that infringers cease use in a cease and desist letter. For more information about infringements‚ please see our Trademark Infringement page.
If a party refuses to comply with a cease and desist letter‚ the damaged party may choose to file a lawsuit in federal court. This involves the filing of a Complaint by the plaintiff‚ an Answer or motions to dismiss by the defendant‚ discovery such as document requests and depositions‚ dispositive motions‚ and finally trial. In the event that you are located outside southern California and have a litigation issue here‚ we are happy to provide local counsel and pro hac vice services. For more information about litigation‚ please see our Trademark Litigation page. You may also see our intellectual property litigation page which includes some of the results that our law firm has achieved in litigation.
If you are in southern California – Orange County (Irvine)‚ Los Angeles‚ or San Diego – or have an issue here, please also feel free to contact us.