What can I do about trademark counterfeiting, if someone is counterfeiting my trademark?
UPDATED: December 16, 2019
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Trademark counterfeiting is a crime that brings with it both civil and criminal fines. The burden to prove trademark infringement is complicated, and sometimes agency where you will need to file a complaint can seem intimidating. If your trademark has been counterfeited, your first action should always be to contact an attorney.
What is trademark counterfeiting?
Trademark counterfeiting is the intentional use of another’s protected trademark for commerce purposes. Trademarks are a type of intellectual property, similar to copyrights and patents, so certain evidence must be presented to prove counterfeiting.
What evidence is necessary to prove trademark counterfeiting?
In order to prove trademark counterfeit, you must prove that you are the party who has the right to use the mark. There are two ways to go about proving this:
The primary way to prove ownership of a trademark is registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If you registered the trademark, then there is a presumption in place that you own the mark. This presumption, however, can be overturned in court.
The second way to prove ownership of a trademark is use in commerce. Both parties will be asked to establish when they first used the mark. The party who used the mark first, will take ownership of the mark, even if the other party was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Who do I contact to file a lawsuit?
The first person you should contact is an intellectual property lawyer. Intellectual property law is extremely complex, so an expert lawyer is an invaluable asset. Next, you will need to file a lawsuit in civil court and petition for an injunction to stop the other party from using the mark while ownership is being decided. The complaint for this action can be filed by your lawyer. The next step is handled by the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The board will evaluate the evidence and determine who the rightful owner actually is.