Safeguard Your Brand: How Choosing the Wrong Trademark Lawyer Can Kill Your Brand

Don’t trust your brand to just any lawyer – both enforcing and not enforcing your company’s trademark rights can damage your brand. When you move to enforce your trademark rights, you are putting your trademark in the line-of-fire, where it will very likely be attacked by the opposing party.

A trademark can be attacked in a variety of ways, most frequently through arguments that the mark is:

  1. Generic,
  2. Abandoned for non-use,
  3. Misrepresentation to the Trademark Office, and
  4. Fair use.

In Haughton Elevator Co v. Seeberger, 85 U.S.P.Q. 80 (1950) trademark rights were lost because the mark ESCALATOR had become generic and therefore lost its trademark status. The court found that Otis Elevator failed to protect the ESCALATOR mark and it became known to the general public as the name for a moving stairway. ESCALATOR was no longer used to identify the moving stairways created by its original founder, Otis Elevator, but rather it became the word to identify all moving stairways. Now anyone can use the word ESCALATOR to describe a moving stairway.

Several of these famous brands lost their trademark rights due to genericide: Aspirin, Trampoline, Thermos, Dry Ice, Laundromat, App Store, Yo-Yo and Zipper.

Further, marks can become abandoned if the owner stops using the mark. Even a short period of nonuse may lead to abandonment in certain circumstances so its important to seek the advise of a lawyer before you even temporarily stop using a mark.

Trademark law permits others to use your mark if that use qualifies as fair use. Permitted uses include allowing a person to use a mark in 1) a non-trademark, descriptive sense to describe a trademark holders goods and/or services and 2) to refer to a trademark owner or its good and/or services. As a trademark owner, it’s crucial to monitor such use and to police this carefully in order to not lose their rights and prevent infringement.

Lastly, any misrepresentation to the Trademark Office, including fraud or misrepresented facts, when applying to register your mark can result in a loss of trademark rights.

This should make it clear that only experienced  trademark lawyers should be enforcing your trademark rights. Unfortunately, many lawyers claim to have expertise in trademark law when they actually have little or no experience. To safeguard your brand, make sure you hire a qualified trademark lawyer with extensive experience in this nice area of the law.

Written by Kennington Groff

Protect Your Brand with Experienced Trademark and Intellectual Property Attorneys

At Founders Legal, our experienced trademark and intellectual property attorneys are dedicated to safeguarding your brand. We understand that your brand is your business’s most valuable asset, and we offer a range of trademark services designed to protect it at every stage of its development.

Our trademark legal services include USPTO trademark search services that identify whether the mark(s) you want to use or substantially similar marks are already in use. We also provide application and U.S. trademark filing services, as well as international trademark registration services so that businesses can expand to new markets while knowing their trademarks are secure.

In addition to trademark registration services, our skilled trademark attorneys also represent clients in trademark dispute resolution, proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and other enforcement actions when another person or entity infringes on clients’ protected marks. We also defend companies against trademark infringement claims.

At Founders Legal, we recognize that every business is unique, and we tailor our services to meet each client’s specific needs. Our team of experienced trademark attorneys understands the complexities of trademark and intellectual property law and will work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect your brand.

Whether you are a startup or an established business, our attorneys are here to provide the legal guidance and support you need to safeguard your brand and grow your business. Schedule your free consultation today to speak with one of our skilled Attorneys and learn more about how we can help you protect your brand.