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Steps to Take if Someone Uses Your Trademark


Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

A trademark is a recognisable mark, sign, or word that sets a product or service apart from others in the market. As a brand identifier, customers can identify and associate a certain good or service with its source. Building customer loyalty, brand knowledge, and image highly rely on trademarks.

Legal protection of trademarks gives the owner the exclusive right to use the name concerning their goods or services in most nations. By utilising a mark that is too identical to be confused, others are stopped from misleading customers and harming the brand owner’s business. Registered trademarks provide stronger legal protection and easier enforcement of rights against infringers. Still, in certain countries, common law or unfair competition rules may protect even unlisted trademarks.

What Can be Trademarked in India?

The Trademarks Act 1999 allows trademarks of several components in India. Those consist of:

  • Letters: Solitary letters or letter groups.
  • Numerical Values: Numbers or combinations of numbers.
  • Words: Any word or combination of words.
  • Catchphrases: Unique slogans or phrases.
  • Logos: Specialised visual images.
  • Graphic Designs: Originally made visual designs.
  • Smells: Unique smells linked to products.
  • Sounds or Jingles: Specialised sound effects.
  • Combination of Colours: Particular colour pairings.
  • Created Words: Newly made words are called created words.
  • Shapes of goods: Special forms of things.
  • Patterns: Distinctive shapes or patterns.

These many categories allow companies and people to protect different parts of their intellectual property and brand identification. Owners registering these components as trademarks get exclusive rights and legal protection against unapproved usage, ensuring the uniqueness and market recognition of their goods or services.

Trademark Infringement

When a third party uses a trademark that is exactly or eerily similar to a registered trademark without the owner’s permission, trademark infringement has happened. This may occur when customers get confused about the source of the items when the infringing mark is used on the same or similar goods or services as the registered brand.

A recognised trademark gives the owner exclusive usage rights and stops others from using a mark that is too close to their own. Enforcing trademark rights and taking infringement measures are made easier by registration as well. Trademark owners may nevertheless have common law rights without registration, although the standard of proof is greater.

Should a copyright be violated, the owner has the right to issue a stop and desist letter requiring the offender to quit using the mark. Should the offender refuse, the trademark owner has the right to sue for damages, attorney’s fees, monetary damages, and an order to cease the infringement. Sometimes copyright violation has legal effects as well.

Initial Steps if Someone Uses Your Trademark

Take quick action to protect your rights and stop further harm to your brand as soon as you find trademark abuse. Consider the following important actions:

  • Record the Infringement: Compile photos, images, packages, or other important materials that show your brand was violated.
  • Send a Stop and Desist Letter: As soon as possible, send the infringer an official cease and desist letter asking them to stop using your brand and comply with your orders within a specified time.
  • Speak with a Trademark Attorney: Engaging a trademark expert specialising in intellectual property law is strongly recommended. An attorney can measure the validity of your case, offer guidance on the best possible course of action, and help you navigate the legal system effectively.
  • Monitor the Situation: Continually monitor the violating actions to ensure they meet your requests and, if needed, take further legal action.

Through these first steps and the early participation of a trademark attorney, you may efficiently deal with trademark abuse, defend your brand, and strategically and promptly protect your intellectual property rights.

Cease and Desist Letter

Formally informing someone or anything about infringing your property rights and asking that they stop the activity is done by sending a cease and desist letter. Usually, the process includes the following steps:

  • Writing the Letter: Your brand should be clearly identified, the activities that are infringing should be explained, and the steps must be taken to stop the violation.
  • Sending the Letter: To ensure proof of delivery, the letter should be sent or emailed certified. One copy of the letter must be kept for your records.
  • Follow Up: Keep an eye on the recipient’s reaction and be ready to file further cases should the infringement continue.

Ignoring a cease-and-desist letter may have very bad legal ramifications. If the infringing party ignores such notices, they risk being sued for trademark infringement and possibly getting court-ordered injunctions, money damages, and legal expenses. Infringers who continue to infringe after getting a stop-and-desist letter may find their case strengthened in court and face more serious fines. The prompt and fitting settlement of trademark infringement would benefit all parties involved.

Legal Actions if Someone Uses Your Trademark

Protecting your intellectual property rights when someone uses your brand unfairly requires suing for trademark infringement. This is how the process works:

  • Starting a case: First, the owner of the brand files a case with the court, accusing the other person of trademark abuse with the help of an experienced lawyer. This court record lists the specifics of the violation, the people who were involved, and the basis for the charge.
  • Choosing the Court: Because intellectual property law is so specialised and rulings are constant, brand owners usually choose a higher court for trademark violation cases. However, a lower court is still an option, depending on the situation.
  • Reacting to the Complaint: After receiving the complaint, the defendant has a limited time to file a statement or a motion based on legal grounds. Failure to answer may result in a default ruling against the defendant.
  • Attorney’s Role: The function of the trademark law specialist attorney is crucial to this process. They help with case strength ratings, document writing, courtroom defence, and settlement talks. Lawyers handle trademark law’s complexity, protecting clients’ rights and working for the best possible result. Trademark owners may better manage the difficulties of a trademark infringement lawsuit and protect the purity of their business by finding an experienced attorney.

Protecting Your Rights

Continual tracking and enforcement actions are important to protecting your property rights. With this proactive approach, any violations are found early on, and quick action to protect your brand is possible. Constant tracking involves looking for unapproved use of your name in print media, the Internet, and marketplaces on a frequent basis. This may be achieved by directly checking trade shows and retail shelves and using search engines, social media, and industry magazines.

Thoroughly recording the proof is crucial when an infringement has been found. This covers snapping pictures, taking screenshots, and getting copies of anything illegal. Keeping detailed paperwork of the violation, along with the times, places, and kind of illegal usage, helps to support your case and make enforcement effective.

Maintaining constant enforcement of your trademark rights shows potential infringements that you are serious about protecting your brand. By swiftly addressing any illegal use and, if needed, taking the proper legal action, you may successfully stop further infringements and maintain the purity of your brand.

What are the Essential Legal Requirements for Trademark Registration?

A trademark filing needs a number of important legal conditions to be satisfied:

  • Name of Trademark Owner: Whether a person, partnership, business, LLP, or organisation, the application must exactly name the owner. The application’s validity rests on the owner’s correct name.
  • Specifying Owner Type: The application must indicate the kind of owner—individual, LLP, company, or group. State of formation information is needed for business entities, while citizenship information is needed for people.
  • Use of the trademark: Applicants must show whether the trademark is being used or whether there is a sincere plan to use it. Products and services linked with the mark must be stated for present use, and plans for future goods and services should be detailed.
  • Illustration: A copyright filing must include a sketch of the mark. Word-based marks may have a standard text representation made by the trademark office; logos and designs must be filed with a picture.
  • List of Goods/Services: The application must provide a full list of goods or services linked to the brand.
  • Distinctiveness: Trademarks that show a customer link with certain goods or services must be unique to be registered.

A successful trademark registration process promises the owner of the trademark protection and ownership by meeting certain legal conditions.

In summary

Anytime your trademark is being used without permission, you must move quickly. Start by recording the violation, calling a trademark expert for help, and sending a stop and desist letter. Protecting your business needs ongoing enforcement and tracking. Should it be needed, legal action should be taken by making a trademark infringement complaint. Protecting your business requires legal action, as it allows you to seek damages and injunctions. You can protect your trademark rights, maintain brand integrity, and retain the market value of your intellectual property by moving quickly and effectively.

Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.