Building up a successful company and brand takes time and significant financial investment. It can require years to develop a faithful customer base and a positive reputation. During that time, you will likely grow and expand your company as much as possible. It may start with building a website and designing a company logo. Soon enough, you have a visual aesthetic for your brand that people recognize and look for when making purchasing decisions.
Then, one day, you receive a complaint from an unhappy customer. A little bit of digging establishes that he or she bought something made by a competitor that features branding and packaging just like yours.
Unfortunately, some companies don't do their due diligence or even deliberately copy popular brands, logos, slogans or other marketing materials. When that happens, you lose out on potential sales. It can have a negative impact on your company's reputation. While you may want to avoid disputes when possible, you should be prepared to protect your company's brand.
It's worth the extra step to register your trademarks
Taking the time to register a trademark for your company is a smart move. After all, these symbols are often used as a stand-in for your brand and your whole business. A well-designed logo and catchy slogan can help customers remember your company and build brand loyalty and awareness.
Your brand also represents thousands of dollars of investment. Combine the cost of creating a unique design with the money spent on advertising, and it's easy to understand why protecting your trademark is important.
Potential damages caused by trademark infringement
When someone steals your trademark, it can have a serious impact on your company. First of all, many of the sales made by the brand infringing on your trademark could have been yours. That means lost revenue from people who very likely intended to be your customers.
Secondly, if the party wrongfully using your trademark cuts corners or offers a substandard product, that could also hurt your hard-won reputation and drive existing customers to seek out your competitors.
Your business should proactively defend its trademark
As soon as you realize there is a trademark issue for your brand, you need to take immediate action. Your first step should be to identify the other party and serve them with a notice to cease and desist using your trademarked material. After that, you may want to advise the public, including potential and current customers, of the issue.
Reporting knock-off items or counterfeit products, and where customers may find them (certain states or even specific stores) on your website and social media pages, could deflect frustration from your business's good will. It can also help your customers figure out how to properly source products from your company.
If the infringement does not promptly stop, or if you have reason to believe there was substantial profit for the other company involved, you may need to take legal action. The courts could order the other company to stop using your trademarked materials and potentially even award damages to you for the trouble.