By Mikki Barry
Trademark infringement is a possibility for every business, whether you be on the receiving end of an infamous "Cease and Desist" letter, or whether you find that a competitor is infringing one of your trademarks. Either way, this is the time to find qualified legal assistance in the form of an experienced trademark attorney to help lead you through the quagmire.
If you have received a "Cease and Desist" letter, the first thing that you do should not be to respond to it, regardless of whether the letter tells you to or not. Instead, the first thing you should do is contact your trademark lawyer. If you don't currently have a trademark attorney, ask your business lawyer to refer you to one. If the business attorney claims s/he can take care of this for you, do not take them at their word on this. Inquire as to their actual trademark experience. This is not the time for someone who read a book or two to use you as their test client.
If you are on the other side, and you have found someone you believe to be infringing your trademark, now is also the time to contact your trusty trademark attorney. Be sure to think about the business aspects of the infringement as well. For example, the RIAA is taking quite a bit of heat lately because of their approach to copyright infringement. Suing your customers, especially when the customers may be innocent of wrongdoing, or single mothers, grandmothers, or non computer users in the case of RIAA, may not be a good business strategy. Making this decision along with your trademark attorney, weighing the pros and cons of taking action, is the best way to proceed.
Mikki Barry has been a trademark and intellectual property attorney for technology and small business companies since 1991. For more information see www.mikkibarry.com This article is not meant to be legal advice.
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