Get With the Program on Trademark Enforcement

Get With the Program on Trademark Enforcement

No company knows how to monitor trademarks like Starbucks Corp. The coffee conglomerate is notorious for defending its marks, even in the most unlikely circumstances that consumers could be confused. But even if your company isn’t going after coffee-flavored beer, it is important to have a trademark enforcement program, says James Hastings of Cohen IP Intellectual Property Law.

Here are some of his tips for setting up an effective monitoring regime:

  • Audit: Hastings says that trademark audits are important for larger companies. This will help identify marks that are in use or require maintenance to remain active, he says. The review should include the current scope of legal protection, a statement on which marks need additional protection and confirmation that the chain of title is accurately identified and recorded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Trademark Watching Service: This is a valuable service where companies can submit their list of trademarks. The attorneys, along with brand protection services, will watch filings at the PTO for similar marks, explains Hastings.
  • Google Alerts: In addition to a watchdog service, Hastings suggests setting up a Google Alert for each commercial trademark. “Companies can routinely monitor the marketplace for trademarks and brand names that could be confusingly similar or that dilute the strength of their own trademarks,” he says.
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