Registering your business’ trademark can be powerful, as it will create a designation that distinguishes your product or service from that of a competitor. Whether you wish to trademark your business’ name, logo, symbol, color, sound, or otherwise, registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will grant you federal protection. This is where the Lanham Act comes to play. Continue reading to learn how the Lanham Act will protect your trademark and how an experienced New Jersey trademark lawyer at The Ingber Law Firm can help you through the registration process.
What is the Lanham Act?
First of all, the Lanham Act was established on July 5, 1946, and is now the primary federal trademark statute. The Act protects trademarks nationally by setting forth several prohibited activities, such as the following:
- A competitor infringing upon one’s registered mark.
- A competitor practicing dilution with one’s registered mark.
- A competitor practicing false advertising with one’s registered mark.
With this, the Act also sets forth two different types of registers. For one, there is the principal register, which grants you national rights to protect your mark. Meaning, competitors will be prohibited from using your mark or anything similar to it. And after five years, you may be granted incontestable status, meaning that you can take federal action against infringing competitors.
Secondly, there is the supplemental register, which grants you rights to protect your mark in another country. Meaning, you will be allowed to hold a descriptive mark, so you can still distinguish your products or services from your competitors. However, this does not provide rights outside of common law and does not include the rights to opposition proceedings.
How does this Act protect my trademark?
With all things considered, the Lanham Act is a significant federal protection that offers you great power against any competitor who is infringing upon your registered mark. That is, this Act gives you the right to pursue a civil lawsuit against any competitor that has caused you to incur damages. And in your lawsuit, you can make any of the following arguments:
- The Act prohibits the copying or duplicating of your business’ tradename or logo, and your competitor is in direct violation of this.
- The Act prohibits the adopting of a mark that is significantly similar to yours, and your competitor is in direct violation of this.
- The Act prohibits the use of your mark after a licensing agreement or franchise agreement has expired, and your competitor is in direct violation of this.
At our firm, we commonly see cases where competitors are performing activities that create buyer confusion. Luckily, our team is well-versed in the Lanham Act and understands how this applies to your case. So, if you wish to pursue a civil lawsuit, do not do so without a skilled Essex County, New Jersey intellectual property lawyer.