Realizing that there is NO such thing as an original idea, imagine with new media how many trademark violations are out there! Many small companies do not have the funds to protect their trademarks with staunch legal fortitude, however there are some factors you need to be aware of and a few steps you can take,
A trademark can be abandoned in several ways. One way is that a proprietor did not pay for the update administrative fee, in which case the USPTO will determine the mark “abandoned.”
A second way is called naked abandonment; this means that the value was “stripped” and therefore the mark is usable by others. Let’s say I have a trademark called DreamWorks and someone else uses DreamsWork. Is that confusing similar? We believe you will say “yes.” It is likely in this case that the ficticious company DreamsWork did h=not have a license from Dream Works and this is not specifically the scenario in this case.
This case refers to a company granted a license to use the mark and defaming it or lowering the standard.In FreeCyclesSunnyvale v. FreeCycle Network, on November 24, 2010 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that if a trademark owner allows a licensee to use his trademark without ensuring that the licensed products meet the standards that the owner symbolizes the trademark loses its value and therefore anyone may be able to use it.
- Police your mark.
- Use searches for you name on Google and type in “confusingly similar” words. your mark is being used and you BELIEVE that there is an infringement, then write a letter. This at least beings the notification should you decide to sue.
How to avoid Trademark defamation?
- Get what you want specifically in writing.
- Keep your bran d”true’ to what you say.
- Maintain a good working relationship with your licensees.