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Frequently Asked Questions about Trademark Fraud

Q: What is trademark infringement, and how can it affect my Denver business?

A: Trademark infringement occurs when another entity uses a mark that is identical or “confusingly similar” to your registered trademark on related goods or services, causing a likelihood of consumer confusion. In other words, people could get confused about who is providing the goods or services offered under a particular brand.  For a Colorado business, this can lead to lost sales, damage to reputation, and weakening or dilution of brand identity. It's essential to take swift action to protect the distinctive qualities of your brand in the market.


Q: What steps should I take if I suspect someone is infringing on my trademark registration?


A: If you suspect infringement of your trademark registration, there are a few things you should do:

  • Document the infringement: Keep a record of all instances of the alleged infringement, including photographs, screenshots, and any other relevant evidence.  If people have repeatedly called your business thinking it’s the infringer instead, make a note of each time.  Similarly, if you get invoices or receipts that are supposed to be sent to the infringer, keep these documents.

  • Contact a trademark attorney: Seek professional legal advice to understand your options and next steps.

  • Cease and desist: Your attorney may advise sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party to demand that they stop copying your brand and confusing consumers.  Before sending this letter, make sure to research the infringer so that you know for sure that you have prior rights in the trademark in question.

  • Explore legal action: If infringement continues, consider filing a lawsuit to enforce your rights.


Q: Does the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office help protect my business against trademark infringement?


A: The USPTO is only responsible for reviewing trademark applications and registering trademarks.  It does NOT enforce trademark rights; that responsibility falls to the trademark owner. However, a USPTO - registered trademark provides a legal presumption of your nationwide ownership and exclusive right to use the mark in connection with particular goods or services throughout the United States, which is a significant advantage in infringement cases.

Q: How can my family business monitor the marketplace to protect against possible trademark infringement?


A: Your family business can monitor the marketplace by setting regularly searching for your mark online, especially in industry-related publications and marketplaces, and considering a professional trademark monitoring service which will inform you every time a new application is filed that may conflict with your rights. Businesses may also periodically check the USPTO and Secretary of State databases for new registrations that might be similar to their own.

Q: How do I prove that another company is infringing on my trademark in Federal courts?


A: To prove infringement in Federal court, you must show that you have a valid and legally protectable mark, that you own the mark, and that the other party’s use of a similar mark is likely to cause confusion among consumers.   Courts and the USPTO will consider the likelihood of confusion based on the "DuPont factors." Evidence such as consumer surveys, instances of actual confusion, and expert testimony can support your case in Colorado or other Federal courts.

Q: Can I stop others from using a similar business name in Denver through trademark law?


A: Yes, if you have a registered trademark, you can take legal action to prevent others from using a business name that is confusingly similar to your trademark in the local Denver area. Trademark law is designed to prevent consumer confusion and protect the trademark owner's investment in their brand.

Q: How can my startup ensure it's not accidentally infringing on another's trademark in Denver?


A: Before using a name or logo, conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure it does not infringe on existing trademarks. This can include searching the USPTO database, online searches, and potentially hiring a trademark attorney to perform a comprehensive search. This due diligence can prevent costly legal issues down the line.

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