What Happens If Someone Else is Using My Trademark?

While doing a Google search, you discover that another business is using the same name as yours – one that you’ve trademarked. 

You’re upset, and with good reason. You’ve spent a lot of time and money securing that trademark as well as promoting your brand on your website, print media, and even the occasional highway billboard. How can you get this other company to stop what appears to be infringement?

Make Sure It’s Actually a Trademark Infringement!

Before going further, you’ll want to make sure that this other business is actually infringing on your trademark.

For example, if your company name is XYZ Services, you provide electronics repairs at a shop in Bay Harbor, and you find another XYZ Services that does general contracting in Boulder, Colorado, the courts likely won’t regard it as infringement.

In general, trademarks don’t infringe one another if the two companies are not in the same line of business or don’t distribute their goods or services in the same locations or trade channels. This is because there is less chance of consumers confusing the two brands.

However, if the other XYZ Services is an electronics reselling business in Hollywood or Miramar, there’s a greater risk of confusion. A consumer who receives bad service at that location may publicly disparage your company as well, believing that the two are related. In this case, you may be able to pursue money damages as well as obtain a court order to stop the infringement.

NOTE: You must be actively using your trademark in the marketplace in order to stop competitors from doing so. Talk to an attorney if you registered the mark years ago but have yet to use it.

Write a Cease-and-Desist Letter

In some cases, you can forgo the time and stress of litigation by having an attorney send the other company a cease and desist letter. This letter will outline the nature of the infringement and, ideally, be accompanied by photos or website printouts presenting evidence that your trademark was improperly used.

All cease-and-desist letters include a deadline for the infringement to stop. If the other company ignores the warning or disputes your claim, the next step to protect your brand may be litigation.

Initiating Trademark Litigation 

Trademark infringement lawsuits are normally filed in state court unless the infringement has occurred in more than one state, in which case you will want to pursue action in federal court. 

While the goal of your lawsuit is to stop the other business from infringing upon your trademark, if the alleged infringer made money using it and/or your brand suffered financial harm due to the infringement, you may also be able to collect damages. Your trademark litigation lawyer will explain what compensation may be available to you.

Talk to a Florida Trademark Litigation Attorney Today

At Waserstein & Nunez, we understand how important your trademark is to your business. If a competitor uses or imitates it, it can damage all of the goodwill you’ve built around your brand. This is why we help clients protect their trademark rights through swift and effective enforcement. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 305.563.1011 or contact us online!

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Waserstein & Nunez, PLLC

Waserstein & Nunez, PLLC is a boutique law firm with extensive and varied experience of a large law firm. They are geared towards deal-making and solutions but always preparing and ready for trial or Plan B.

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