Pennsylvania Litigation Blog
Trademark: Retain your Right to Sue
Even if you are successful in federally registering your mark, misuse of your mark may result in losing your right to enforce the registration. The term misuse is relative and generally does not lead to a removal from the registry. Rather, your use may affect the ability to enforce rights granted by the registration.
The rights established from a federal registration can last indefinitely, as long as the owner continues active use of the mark on or in connection with the goods and/or services in the registration. Therefore, it is important that you actively use your registration.
Furthermore, when used, the trademark mark should be presented as an adjective. Any presentation of your trademark, as a noun or verb, should be avoided. In fact, use as a noun or verb is a common error that an owner uses the mark as a noun or a verb (i.e. correct use = “Drink YOUR MARK Cola”; incorrect use = “Drink YOUR MARK”). You should also avoid any presentation of the mark in plural or modified possessive form (i.e. incorrect use = “YOUR MARK’s Cola”).
A mark should be adequately distinguished in presentation, especially in regards to the surrounding text and symbols. For instance, your mark can be capitalized, underlined, italicized, placed in quotation marks, or even depicted in boldface type; each typography provides an emphasis on the mark, making it more distinguishable. Since trademarks are used to create distinct commercial impressions in regard to the offered goods and services, your trademark should be distinguishable.
Most importantly, your mark should be affixed to the goods and/or services for which the mark is registered. Meaning, if you received a registration of your mark in association with product X, then use of the mark with product Y is not protected under the registration. Rather, use of the mark with product Y only provides common law rights. It would be recommended to register the mark again, but now in association with a new class of goods and/or services. The mark can be placed on the parcel in which the goods are packaged. Tags or labels may be used as well, which are attached to the product, and provide greater identity of the mark.
It is important to know that certain actions must be taken to maintain your registration, especially if in any changes in use have occurred.
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