Can You Do It Yourself?

Practically speaking, the answer is “no.” Below we discuss what is hypothetically possible.

There are things you can do to monitor for mark infringements without hiring a law firm or paying for a professional watching service. We call that “poor-man’s watching” – PMW.

We realize PMW will be financially attractive, but consider these downsides to PMW:

  • PMW will fail to detect many potential problems. Professional mark watching conducted by experienced trademark counsel will catch more problems and often catches them earlier, when they are easier to fix.
      • Distant Markets. If you have achieved federal registration of your mark or anticipate doing so in the future, you may be asserting mark rights throughout the entire United States. You may not be aware of what others are doing in distant geographic markets.
      • More Comprehensive USPTO Searching. Among other things, a professional watch service monitors federal mark registration applications and federal mark registrations. Such a service has the technological ability to find near misses you won’t find using the USPTO marks database public search engine, because of the narrowness of that website’s public search engine.
      • Special Databases. Professional watching services have access to special databases. Marks also can be registered on the state level, and such professional services monitor the marks registers of all 50 states. You won’t be able to do this yourself with PMW. They also monitor various other sources for possible indicators of new, common-law mark rights, such as incorporations, business licenses, domain name registrations, and various subscription business databases.
          • Our Internally Developed Processes. In our many years of specializing in mark-infringement watching and policing, we have developed many internal methods and protocols for early detection of infringements that commercial watch services miss or detect only later. You won’t be able to replicate that.
      • Unless you have trademark legal expertise, you may not be able to discern between what is and is not a mark infringement. Experienced trademark counsel can distinguish between problems and non-problems.
      • Watching alone isn’t good enough. You need to have a program in place for contacting targets as early as possible and for monitoring and following up with identified targets.
      • Many business owners tend to let PMW slide due to the press of other things. We have never seen a business do it itself successfully. We can “just take care of it” while you focus on growing your business. We can do baseline assessment and monthly monitoring/policing on a flat-fee basis, so you can budget for getting this done right.