Don’t become a trade mark bully
Mike Boudett, Dave Kluft and Anthony Rufo discuss how modern and social media are forcing brand owners to walk a fine line between aggressive brand enforcer and so-called trade mark bully
Abrand owner has the affirmative duty to enforce its trade mark
rights. Failure to do so can result in the loss of a valuable asset.
Observe the cautionary tale of Bell South v DataNational, in
which the Federal Circuit found that the brand owner lost its exclusive
right to the Walking Fingers logo for telephone directories, in part,
because it failed to police the use of the logo by other companies
(Federal Circuit, 1995). In the past, brand owners have sought to avoid
similar results by alleging trade mark infringement in cease-and-desist
letters to competitors or to potential competitors. Such correspondence
has often followed a David versus Goliath formula, but without the
slingshot: smaller entities in receipt of such letters had a difficult
choice. On the one hand, they were faced with the possibility of giving
in quickly to potentially unreasonable demands, and on the other,
risking expensive litigation against...
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