What is Trademark Monitoring and Policing?

 

Think about it this way:

Your trademark is like a new commercial property you have constructed. Trademark monitoring and policing is the regular maintenance of that building and the security service to protect it against intruders and vandals.

In a nutshell, trademark monitoring is constantly scanning the horizon for infringements of your trademark. Trademark policing is taking prompt action to stop any infringements.

 

Here is how we usually perform this service for our clients:

  • We Start Immediately.
  • You should begin mark monitoring as soon as you decide to adopt your mark. You should do this as soon as you complete mark clearance research, which normally is when you file one or more mark registration applications. Don’t wait until you have an issued mark registration or until you have begun sales.
  • Step 1 – We Determine Your Mark Turf. We determine the scope of your mark turf. We recommend doing so immediately after you complete mark clearance research and commit to a mark.
    • To determine how broad your mark turf is, you need to have performed a comprehensive analysis of the strength of your mark. Usually that involves analyzing a full mark research report. We recommend ordering and having us analyze such a full mark research report as the final step in clearing your mark before you adopt it, so perhaps you have done this already. Thus, the optimum time to determine the scope of your mark turf is immediately after such full clearance research is completed – while the results are still current. If you wait to begin mark monitoring, there will be a time gap between when you did your clearance and when monitoring begins. Problems and other game-changers can crop up during that gap.
  • Step 2 – We Order and Utilize a Professional Watching Service. We order a full mark watching service from a watching-service provider. We then review those results every month to look for targets entering your mark turf and contact you if we spot any problems. We supplement this watching service with our use of various online tools.
    • In theory, you could order such a service and receive the results yourself, but we recommend against doing so. The online reports on the services are difficult to understand and manipulate. Also, they are just raw data dumps, not an analysis of whether the hits are within your mark turf.
  • Step 3 – Tracking and Docketing Targets and Potential Targets. We build and maintain a docket of various kinds of targets. This organizes your ongoing watching and policing program. We share this chart with you, thereby giving you a “dashboard” on your trademark’s situation.
  • Step 4 – Policing. When targets crop up that are within your mark turf, we consult with you about appropriate policing action and execute that plan. Often this starts with sending a cease-and-desist letter after appropriate due diligence.

 

  • What Will Professional Monitoring and Policing Cost?
  • How much professional monitoring will cost will depend upon your particular mark situation. It often depends on how well you did in picking a strong mark with a clear zone around it. If we rarely find targets that come within your mark turf, your annual legal fees cost above the cost of the monitoring service may be fairly low. On the other hand, if, due to the nature of your mark, we regularly detect a significant number of targets that need addressing, the annual legal fees expenditure for monitoring and policing could be substantial. We are happy to talk about this issue quantitatively with prospective clients.