Securing federal trademark registration is only one aspect of the process of protecting your brand identity. Whether you have one registered mark, or a whole portfolio, keeping your marks requires both use and enforcement. A vital tool to enforce your mark is regular and diligent monitoring. Monitoring entails looking out for others using your mark or similar marks and keeping confusingly similar marks from being registered.
The USPTO registers trademarks, but it doesn’t monitor or enforce them—that’s up to the trademark owner. The trademark owner has the burden of watching out for trademarks that might infringe her rights, as well as taking action when it happens. As a general rule, trademark conflicts are easier to manage the earlier they are detected. Trademark monitoring helps you to find unauthorized use of your mark or marks that are similar marks that could be infringing earlier rather than later. The very act of protecting your mark against unauthorized use strengthens your rights. Good trademark monitoring will save brand owners money!
Trademark monitoring is also important because it alerts you to when you need to take action. As a trademark owner, you have the option of filing objections to any new trademarks that may encroach on your brand identity. During examination, the USPTO will search its database of registered and pending marks but the office may still allow registration of a mark that you believe could harm your brand. It is crucial that you monitor your trademark so you can take action against the registration of similar marks in a timely fashion.
Trademark monitoring involves gathering and reviewing information about trademark registrations, use of unregistered marks and other uses:
- The USPTO Trademark Official Gazette. (TMOG)
- The USPTO Trademark Database. (TESS)
- State trademark and business filings databases.
- Domain Name Registries.
- Search engine results.
- Usernames on major social media platforms and other websites.
Need help with your Trademark? Talk to an Attorney at Shami Messinger PLLC