Defending your company’s reputation through the legal process
Enforcement is important for all types of intellectual property, but it takes on special significance with trademarks. While failing to enforce patents and copyrights may cause you to miss out on royalties or profits, failing to address trademark infringement can weaken, and even destroy, your intellectual property rights. In fact, failing to address infringement of an unregistered trademark may even prevent you from registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the New Jersey Division of Revenue.
Choosing your forum
Trademark law is distinct from patent and copyright law in that it is not exclusively the province of the federal government. Many states – New Jersey included – have their own trademark laws and registration systems. This means that you may have the option of asserting your trademark claims in either state or federal court. While state court proceedings are often more convenient and less costly, there are other factors to consider, such as the procedural rules of each court and the differences in substantive law.
Trademark litigation and enforcement options
Regardless of the forum, you have several options for enforcing your trademark rights. An experienced intellectual property attorney can advise you which course of action is most appropriate to your situation:
- Cease-and-desist demand – This is usually the first step in the enforcement process. Many infringers honestly do not realize what they are doing and will desist once it is brought to their attention. Even if the infringement continues, a cease-and-desist demand makes it easier during trademark litigation for you to show that the conduct was willful.
- Declaratory judgment – A declaratory judgment action asks the court to make a legal determination on an issue without ordering any other type of relief. In the context of trademark litigation, this type of action is most frequently used by parties accused of infringement to get a court determination that their conduct does not constitute infringement.
- Injunctive relief – Injunctive relief is one of the more common results in trademark litigation. This is essentially a court order directing the defendant to stop using a trademark that infringes on the plaintiff’s rights. It may also include an order that any products displaying the offending trademark be destroyed.
- Monetary damages – Money damages are potentially available in both state and federal trademark litigation. The measure of damages is usually all profits realized by the infringer through the use of the offending trademark and any actual damages suffered by the trademark holder. In cases of willful infringement, the court may order treble damages.
Work with a pragmatic trademark attorney in New Jersey
At Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we assess your enforcement goals and develop a cost-efficient strategy for protecting your IP rights. Call our office during normal business hours at 877-649-6002 to schedule an initial consultation. You can also contact us online at any time. From our office in Flanders, we serve clients in Morris, Sussex, Warren counties throughout New Jersey and nationwide.