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Keeping your trademark safe

Imagine that you have worked for several years to build up capital and open your own consulting business. You worked closely with a design specialist to create a trademark so that your current and future clients could easily recognize your brand.

Then, as you were driving to your office one day, you saw it. A new company had opened up just a few blocks away and their sign displayed a trademark so similar to yours that you could barely tell the difference.

Once you have established a trademark, or other intellectual property, it is important that you take certain steps to protect it. Not only is it in your best interest to keep people from stealing your trademark outright, you should also have protections in place to keep others from using a similar trademark. This is especially important if the other person or company is providing similar services or is operating in or close to your geographic area.

If you have been the victim of intellectual property theft, it is important to take immediate action to recover your property and force the other person or business to cease and desist. A business law attorney in the San Jose area can help you take legal action against the company that is displaying your trademark. Read further for more information to help you keep your trademark safe.

Activating your trademark

The first step in protecting your trademark is making it active. This means that you have to put the trademark into use in your industry's market. Even if your company is new and you have not had a paying client, displaying your trademark to the public is enough to make it active.

Registered and unregistered trademarks

If you register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you can use the circled "R" to signify its registered status. If you do not register the trademark, you can use the TM or SM designation as a way to establish ownership. While the law does not dictate that you have to use a trademark designation, doing so will work in your favor if someone attempts to infringe on your trademark.

Protecting your trademark

If someone is attempting to use your already established trademark, the first step is to send a "cease and desist" letter. This letter instructs the other person or company to immediately stop using your trademark or a similar trademark. If the other entity ignores the letter, your next step is filing a lawsuit. Since trademarks fall under federal jurisdiction, a federal court will preside over your case.

Winning a trademark lawsuit will help prevent any future infringement on your mark and help you recover damages you may have suffered due to the infringement. If the court rules in your favor and decides that the other entity profited from infringing on your trademark, the violator might have to turn over its profits to you.

If have been the victim of intellectual property theft, such as trademark infringement, you might be entitled to damages.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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