Picture this: you develop a product and invest money in obtaining a trademark on a brand name. You sell your product under the trademark and grow your business. Someone else notices your success, and they infringe your trademark. You now have a competitor knocking off your intellectual property rights with an infringing mobile application. What do you do?
In the pre-internet days, you would send a Cease & Desist letter alleging trademark infringement. That can still work in 2020, but online businesses can be more complicated than brick-and-mortar infringements of the past. For example, some online businesses do not include contact information on their sites. How do you get in touch to inform the business of your intellectual property rights? Taking the hypothetical one step further – what if the infringing business is a mobile application? What do you do?
How mobile applications infringe
Mobile application stores and domain name registrars recognize the complicated nature of online infringement. They also do not want to get involved in infringement disputes. However, if you can prove that you own a valid trademark registration, you may be able to get an infringing application or website taken down. For example, the Google Play store has an intellectual property infringement complaint procedure. If you submit a request, along with proof of your trademark, Google can take an infringing app off the Google Play store. Other app stores and registrars have similar policies.
The first, and most important, step to take is to obtain a trademark registration. Our attorneys can help you navigate through the registration process. Next, you should police – or monitor – your trademark. That way, you’ll quickly find out about infringement. If you notice an infringing product, website, or app, you should then reach out to an intellectual property attorney to enforce your rights.
Smith & Hopen has experience in taking down infringing websites and apps. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.