Enforcing your trade mark is essential, probably more important than building your brand. If you fail to do it, your brand’s value could be diminished.
How to enforce your trade mark
The first thing you have to ensure is that your trade mark is correctly registered for the goods and services in which you trade.
The second is to be vigilant. Even if you have registered your trade mark, it’s up to you to prevent anyone using it (or one like it) without your permission.
Monitoring the market and trade mark registers will help you maintain the value of your mark. However, it is time consuming and something that could easily be forgotten about, potentially leaving your brand vulnerable.
UKIPO affords limited protection
If you have a UK registration, the UKIPO will warn you if a UK mark is filed after yours, but only if the IPO thinks it’s the same.
Therefore, you can’t sit back and relax thinking the UK IPO will take care of the policing for you.
This is especially true when you look at the bigger picture, because the UKIPO won’t alert you of any later potentially conflicting EU trade marks when they are filed. Therefore, it is possible that an EU trade mark can be registered that would potentially weaken your rights. And, because you’re not told about it, you could miss your opportunity to object.
Therefore, the onus is on you to proactively monitor the market and registers to find out whether anyone is using – or applying to register – a mark that is identical or similar to yours.
Get yourself a 24/7-watch dog
As you can see, enforcing your trade mark is not as easy at it sounds.
However, one way you can maintain peace of mind that your trade mark isn’t being registered without your knowledge, is to sign up to a watch service.
The idea behind this is that you will be alerted immediately should any such situation arise. It’s a bit like having a guard dog that never sleeps watching over your brand.
There are many such services available. Here at Ward Trade Marks, our watching service is called WardWatch ®.
Using specialist software, we monitor trade mark registers in the UK, but more importantly the European Union Register and beyond. That means our eagle eyes will negate the issue with EU trade marks we mentioned earlier.
After spending time and money building your business and your brand, the last thing you need is for another company to dilute your IP value by filing a similar mark to yours.
You owe it to your business (and your customers) to be vigilant in the protection of your trade mark. This automatic early warning system will help you prevent a bad situation before it starts.
Keep your trade mark, brand, and IP safe with WardWatch ®. To Find out more: