How do I know if someone else is using my brand name?

If you registered your brand name as a trademark, you can oppose the (more recent) use of a similar name for similar products and/or services if that use could cause confusion among the relevant public. To exercise your trademark rights, you must first monitor and identify any conflicting use. 

With thousands of new trademark applications filed every year, the likelihood of trademark conflicts will only continue to grow. Trademark watching and online brand protection services monitor the market to alert you to any potentially infringing or unauthorised use.

What is trademark watching?  

Trademark watching services monitor national and international IP registries to identify new trademark applications that are identical or similar to your existing trademark rights. By notifying you promptly, you can object to the registration of potentially problematic trademarks by lodging an opposition. Oppositions must be filed in a specific and limited time period, so it’s important to act quickly.

Trademark watching is not a one-off activity but instead requires ongoing attention and support. If you do not have an active trademark watching service, you could find out about new trademark applications too late to file an opposition. If you miss the opposition deadline, it is still possible to challenge the new trademark application, but the procedure is much more costly and time-consuming. 

In which countries should I register and watch my trademarks?

Trademark rights are obtained by registration at the IP office of the relevant country or territory, with each IP office keeping its own register of trademarks. Another party could apply to register the same or a similar trademark in any country or territory where you have not registered your trademark. As such, it is advisable to register and monitor your trademark in all countries or regions where you use or plan to use your brand.

For detailed advice on creating a trademark watching service, read our article ‘The how and why of trademark watching’.

What if someone is using my brand name online?

Trademark watching services monitor only for conflicting trademark applications at national and international IP offices. In other words, they don’t monitor for potentially conflicting use in the market itself. For this reason, it’s advisable to use a brand protection service to identify and enforce infringing use of your brand name, especially online.

Novagraaf’s Online Brand Protection technology quickly detects infringement on the web, in apps, online marketplaces, social media and domain names. As importantly, we have linked this early detection to our trademark enforcement services so you can react quickly and cost-effectively to shutdown the identified infringements. Discover our full range of Online Brand Protection services. 

If you are concerned about infringing use of your trademarks or brand assets online or offline, contact your Novagraaf attorney or get in touch below. Whatever your needs, our specialists will assess any infringement and provide you with prompt and cost-effective advice for monitoring and enforcing your rights.

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