Understanding Use and Policing

Securing a trademark registration is a significant achievement in safeguarding your brand identity.

However, many businesses wonder, “Do I need to do anything with my trademark after it’s registered?

The answer is yes.

Maintaining and policing your trademark are essential ongoing tasks to ensure its effectiveness and longevity.

Let’s explore why active use and diligent policing are critical for keeping your trademark strong and enforceable.

The Importance of Using and Policing Your Trademark

Continuous Use Is Essential

A trademark is not merely a legal right—it’s a mark of trade, implying that its primary function is to be used in commerce. Continuous use of your trademark is crucial for several reasons:

  • Maintaining Rights: In many jurisdictions, including the United States, the rights to a trademark are linked to its active use in commerce. If you fail to use the trademark, you risk weakening its legal protection and potentially losing these rights due to abandonment.
  • Trademark Renewal: When renewing your trademark registration, you will need to prove that the mark is still in use. Failure to provide evidence of use can lead to the cancellation of your trademark.
  • Brand Presence and Recognition: Regular use of your trademark reinforces brand recognition and loyalty among consumers, which is vital for business growth and sustainability.

The Need for Policing Your Trademark

Registering your trademark gives you the exclusive rights to use it in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration. However, it’s your responsibility to enforce these rights. 

The strength of your trademark lies not just in its registration but in your commitment to protect it against infringement or misuse. Without vigilant policing, trademarks can become diluted, lose their distinctive character, and, ultimately, their value. Effective trademark policing ensures that your brand remains unique, preventing others from benefiting from the goodwill and reputation you’ve worked hard to build.

Vigilant Enforcement to Protect Your Brand

Policing your trademark involves:

  • Monitoring the Market: Regularly monitoring the market for any unauthorized use of your trademark or confusingly similar marks. This includes online marketplaces, domain names, and even brick-and-mortar businesses.
  • Taking Action Against Infringements: If you discover unauthorized use, it’s important to take prompt action. This may involve sending cease and desist letters, takedown notices, filing for injunctions, or pursuing litigation to stop the infringement and seek damages.
  • Maintaining Distinctiveness: Policing also helps maintain the distinctiveness and reputation of your brand. Allowing unauthorized use can lead to genericide, where a trademark becomes a common name for a product or service and loses its trademark protection.

Trademark Owner’s Ongoing Duty to Police

Trademark law imposes a duty on trademark owners to police their marks actively. This means consistently monitoring for unauthorized uses of your mark. Policing your trademark is essential for preserving your brand identity, legal protection, and market exclusivity, helping ensure the long-term value of your business. 

Neglecting this duty can result in legal, reputational, and financial risks.  Further, failing to actively police your trademark can lead to the dilution of your brand’s uniqueness and the loss of some or all of your exclusive rights. 

Why Partner with Jones IP Law for Trademark Management?

At Jones Intellectual Property Law, I, Michael Jones, understand that a trademark is a living asset that requires care and attention. Here’s how I can assist you in maintaining and policing your trademark effectively:

  • Strategic Trademark Management: I provide comprehensive management services that include regular monitoring of your trademark’s use in the marketplace and enforcement against infringements.
  • Experienced Legal Support: With extensive experience in trademark law, I am well-equipped to handle any legal challenges that arise, ensuring that your rights are robustly protected.
  • Tailored Enforcement Strategies: I develop customized strategies for enforcement that align with your business objectives and the specifics of your trademark.
  • Monthly Brand Protection Plans: Jones IP’s services include monthly protection plans which include monthly monitoring, reports, consultations, cease and desist letters, and takedown notices.

Take proactive steps to maintain and police your trademark today—contact Jones Intellectual Property Law to ensure your trademark continues to protect and enhance your brand effectively. Let’s work together to keep your trademark a strong asset for your business.

Michael Jones Michael Jones is the founder and managing member of Jones Intellectual Property, whose mission is to provide his clients with personalized, effective legal solutions. Michael has focused on creating, protecting, and advocating for his clients’ intellectual property rights throughout his career. View Bio