Once you have performed a thorough clearance search, registered your trademarks, and are actively managing your registrations, the next prudent step is to set up a trademark watch service. This is an imperative component of protecting your brand and something no trademark owner should neglect. Part Four of our Five-Part Series will provide an overview of what a watch service is and why you should consider one.
As you may know, the process of registration of a trademark includes a period of publication of the mark in the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG) (to be discussed further in Part Five), allowing watch services to track trademark filings and inform trademark owners so they can act within the allotted opposition period. Essentially, a watch service monitors sources both domestically and internationally, alerting you of newly-filed applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or applications that are in the publication period that may be confusingly similar or even infringing upon a mark in your portfolio. This can include all types of trademarks – word marks, logos, and slogans. Having this information is invaluable to you as a trademark owner, since you can take action early in the form of an opposition through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
Watch services allow you to specify which marks and which classes to monitor. They will send you a report that can be customized to your preference to include cases, notes, and opinions if you choose. You can specify certain countries or territories, as well as expand the report to include domain name registrations and common law uses. Some services may even review the watch notices for you and recommend what action you should take.
The cost for watch subscriptions can range depending on the type of services you require, but as with other trademark costs, it is far better to pay these fees up front than to try to stop infringement once it has started. Think of it as preventative care for your portfolio. Contact David Lilenfeld or Sonia Lakhany at Lilenfeld PC to help arrange and set up a watch service for your marks.
David M. Lilenfeld