Maintaining & Enforcing your European Community Trademark
Maintaining your Community Trade Mark
Once successfully registered, your Trademark is an unrivalled acquirement within your business armoury and can be used as both a powerful weapon and a strong shield to protect your business name and identity. Ensuring that no other entities are able to use exact or similar variants of your Trademark assures your brand remains valuable. Whilst a registered Trademark gains you the power to enforce this, it does not provide you with automatic notifications on all potential conflicts surrounding the use of your brand.
It is your responsibility as a Trade Mark owner to act against other similar entities that may threaten your business activities and weaken the value of your Trade Mark. Trademark Examiners do not refuse applications on the basis of similarity to an earlier registered Trade Mark.
Whilst a Community Trade Mark includes all 27 countries within its registration, if an identical or similar application is filed to an individual Trade Mark Office (i.e. INPI French Trade Mark Office, UKIPO UK Trade Mark Office) you WILL NOT be automatically notified.
Enforcing your Trade Mark:
If you find that an entity is infringing your trade mark, we would recommend that you first contact the entity in question to see if the matter can be sorted out amicably. You may wish to send this directly yourself or alternatively use your Trade Mark Attorney or Representative to send this on your behalf. If unsure, seek professional advice with your Trade Mark Representative to firstly determine the likelihood of success and potential outcome.
In some cases the infringing company in question may not be aware that they are unlawfully using your Trade Mark, writing to them and indicating your registered Trade Mark and asking for reassurances an infringement will not be repeated may be enough if this situation.
If the potential infringement is more serious, for example the conflicting entity have attempted to secure an exact or similar Trade Mark to your own, you may wish to consult your Trade Mark representative about the possibility of formal opposition or cease and desist proceedings.
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