Policing your trademark is an important task for maintaining the strength of your trademark rights. There are passive and active approaches:

  • Waiting until instances of confusion arise between your brand and that of a third party.
  • Periodically searching the Internet and industry for potentially infringing brands.

If your trademark has real value, you’ll want to proactively monitor the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office trademark application filings to determine if anyone is seeking rights to a confusingly similar brand. It is difficult for even the most experienced trademark attorneys to do this manually because one must look not just for “identical” trademarks, but those with:

  • phonetic similarity;
  • orthographic similarity and misspellings;
  • prefix, infix and suffix variations;
  • vowel and consonant similarity;
  • plurals and stemming;
  • abbreviations and acronyms; and
  • other similarities

Well-informed brand owners and intellectual property practitioners set up sophisticated trademark watch services for an annual fee. Every 1-2 weeks, the monitor queries trademark databases in the U.S., Europe and in other countries for newly filed applications that could infringe the trademark owner’s rights.

Flowchart of a trademark watch monitoring service
Smith & Hopen Trademark Watch Service