As a business owner, your intellectual property is one of your most valuable assets. It is a reflection of more than just your product or brand: It represents your ideas, your dreams, your vision and your mission. That is why one of the most important legal steps you can take is establishing your trademark, and the reason why the Lanham Act is one of the most important laws enacted by the federal government.
First enacted in 1946, the Lanham Act begins by defining what a trademark is and makes clear the requirements for eligibility, registering and maintaining trademarks, as well as delineating the various forms of trademark violations and infringement and laying out how they should be addressed. While the original act’s three chapters addressed elements including remedying infringements, stopping unfair competition practices, false advertising, false endorsement, and false designation of origin, it has since been extended to cover the needs introduced to today’s technology, including the problems of cybersquatting and software piracy.
Though the Lanham Act may sound like little more than bureaucracy, if you are faced with a situation where a competitor is saying false things about you or practicing some other unfair competition practice then it is the law that will help you recover and move forward. The Lanham Act outlines the elements that are needed to constitute a false advertising claim, that define commercial advertising or promotion, and that deceive or are likely to deceive in order to equip those that have been wronged with a method of seeking relief. Under its protections, business owners need only show threatened injury in order to get injunctive relief and stop inappropriate marketing or use of intellectual property from occurring.
The Lanham Act is there for your protection, even if you have not taken the appropriate steps to register your trademark. Though you will only be able to collect damages if you are able to show actual losses or injury, businesses that believe that their trademark is being threatened can rely on it as the basis for a lawsuit or a cease-and-desist order.
For information on registering and maintaining your trademark, or to take actions against those that have attempted to disadvantage you through trademark infringement, contact us today.