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What happens when you register a weak trademark?

So, you've read my post on strong trademarks, threw caution to the wind, and filed for registration on that weak mark anyway. You even got your mark allowed. Now what?

As a business owner, registering your trademark protects your brand and prevents others from using your intellectual property without permission. However, registering your trademark is insufficient to ensure its continued protection. Failing to enforce your trademark against possible infringers can have severe consequences for your brand.

Loss of Trademark Rights

One of the most significant risks of not enforcing your trademark is the potential loss of your trademark rights. Trademarks are granted to businesses and individuals who use them in commerce to distinguish their goods and services from those of others. However, trademark rights are not unlimited and must be actively protected.

If you do not enforce your trademark against possible infringers, you risk losing your trademark rights. For example, this can occur if a third party begins using a similar or identical mark in commerce and you fail to take action to stop them. Over time, this can lead to a weakening of your trademark and the potential loss of your exclusive right to use it.

Confusion among Consumers

Another risk of failing to enforce your trademark is confusion among consumers. If others are allowed to use your trademark without permission, it can lead to a dilution of your brand and a loss of consumer trust. Consumers may be unsure which products or services are associated with your brand, leading to decreased sales and brand loyalty.

Legal Liability

If you do not enforce your trademark against possible infringers, you may also be liable for damages in court. For example, if a third party is using your trademark without permission, and you do not take action to stop them, you may be seen as tacitly approving of their use. Again, this can lead to legal liability for any damages resulting from the infringement.

Additionally, if you fail to enforce your trademark and it becomes weakened or diluted over time, you may find it more difficult to enforce it in the future. Courts may view your lack of enforcement as a waiver of your trademark rights, making it harder for you to take action against future infringers.

How Litigious do you Plan on Being?

All of this is to say the more possible infringers you see in the space, the more enforcement will need to be carried out. The term genericide is used to indicate a mark that had become so ubiquitous in the space it was no longer enforceable. This is still quite the issue for a mark like Velcro® for hook-and-loop fasteners. They're still hanging on, but they do so by constantly monitoring and enforcing their brand. Now, if you filed for your mark and already had to overcome a genericness rejection, you're probably looking at a crowded space and going to be at quite the uphill battle of enforcement. So, be sure you REALLY want that mark and the work it will entail to keep it before you file for a weak trademark.


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