There are a few ways in which a person or a company can lose ownership rights of a trademark:
Dilution of a trademark occurs when the trademark name become synonymous with a certain type of product. Examples of trademarks that have been lost through dilution include: escalator, aspirin, zippers, and kerosene.
The most effective way to prevent loss of trademark rights through dilution is to stay informed of the use of the trademark by others and prevent any misuse of the trademark by competitors. This may include having to sue competitors that use your trademark in a general description of their product to stop them from using your trademark that way.
Companies that have successfully kept their trademark rights as a result of aggressively engaging in litigation with others that have misused their trademarks include Kleenex and Xerox, which are two trademarks that still are used in everyday language to refer to the products they sell.
With trademark rights, you have to be willing to stop other people from committing violations. If someone uses your trademark without your permission and you do not try to stop them in a timely fashion, then the courts may infer that you do not actually own the rights to the trademark.
As with many other kinds of lawsuits, if you do not file your claim of trademark infringement within the time period set forth by the statute of limitations, you lose the right to sue for that specific instance of trademark infringement.
The best thing that you can do to ensure that you keep your trademark rights is to stop people from engaging in behavior that infringes upon your rights. By taking steps to stop others that are infringing upon your trademark rights, you demonstrate to the courts that you are the legal owner of those rights and that you actually have an interest in preserving those rights.
Once trademark rights are lost, it is almost impossible to regain them. If you think that your trademark is at risk of being diluted or that someone has infringed upon your rights to a trademark, it is advisable to contact an intellectual property lawyer.
A trademark lawyer will be able to tell you if your trademark is at risk of being diluted or it does appear that a person or a company has illegally infringed upon your rights for a trademark. Also, a trademark lawyer can help you put an end to dilution or infringement, whether it requires merely a cease-and-desist letter to the responsible parties or a court order halting the diluting or infringing actions.
Last Modified: 04-26-2016 02:00 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.