It is important not to ignore the potential infringement. While we’d all like to avoid confrontation, trademarks have been “genericized”) in the past because their owners failed to adequately protect their marks. A trademark becomes “genericized” most often when the products or services with which it is associated have acquired substantial mind share such that the primary meaning of the trademark becomes the product or service itself rather than a source indicator (i.e., Aspirin). However, a less famous mark can become “genericized” too if the owner of such a trademark doesn’t make efforts to correct and prevent broad use of its rights in the trademark. Sometimes, all that is needed is a friendly phone call or email from you reminding the infringer of your rights as an owner of the mark. In fact, sometimes this more friendly approach leads to a relationship, such as a licensing agreement or simply increased exposure, which ultimately benefits you both. Other times, it might be necessary to speak with an attorney who can help you understand your rights and option, and draft a more formal “cease and desist” letter on your behalf. For domain names, a common and cost-effective way to enforce your rights is through a streamlined arbitration proceeding under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Although domain name owners typically hire an attorney to advise them in such a proceeding, it is not required. More information on the approved service providers can be found at www.ICANN.com.
The firm charges a flat fee for trademark searches and filings, and we’d be happy to walk you though the process in more detail if interested.