Companies in New Jersey that have trademarks should have a clear understanding of what a trademark protection provides them and how they can and should effectively enforce or defend those marks. Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions that many businesses and people have is that the United States Patent and Trademark Office will actually proactively protect a company’s trademarks. That is not at all true.

The USPTO is the organization that accepts new applications for trademarks and that ultimately grants trademarks. They, however, do not take or hold any responsibility for enforcing those marks. Such responsibility belongs squarely on the shoulders of the companies that hold trademarks.

What happens if a company fails to take action when its trademark is clearly violated? Forbes provides an overview of a case where a company did this not just once but over the course of many decades. As a result, when they finally tried to pursue another entity for alleged infringement, they were unable to receive the support they wanted from the courts based on something referred to as the defense of laches.

In addition to taking action when an infringement occurs, it is important for companies to know when that actually happens. For example, any unauthorized use of a service mark or a trademark that may in no way cause confusion or that was not done deceptively may not qualify as an actual infringement. It is the presence of qualities like confusion and deception that may contribute to a viable infringement claim.