Trademark law

As you probably already know, trademark laws were created in the entrepreneurial spirit to help innovators claim ownership over the intangible, to help them protect their intellectual property. Naturally, not everyone out there uses trademark laws as they’re intended.

These people who take advantage of trademark laws are often colloquially referred to as “trademark trolls.”

These trolls usually take one of three different forms. There are trolls who use trademark law to claim ownership to a well-known, third-party name with the intention of making the “true” owner pay up. There are trolls who own trademarks, but only use their rights as owners against other businesses who’d want to adopt the name, and not to actually protect their own intellectual property. Lastly, there are trolls who use trademark laws to enforce their marks more widely than is necessarily legitimate.

These trolls don’t only aggravate businesses — they’re a drain on the economy, too. In 2011, they cost the economy about $29 billion. The worst part is that it’s not big, corporate law firms who have to deal with them. It’s small to medium sized businesses who have to take the brunt of this burden. About 59% of the companies trolls sue are small to medium sized businesses, who wind up paying out about 37% of the direct costs.

Even worse, troll cases are on the rise. In 2005, trademark attorneys only had to deal with 1,401 troll cases. In 2011, they had to deal with a whopping 5,842.

Trolls and trademark squatters have also stopped some of the biggest businesses in the United States from developing. In 2009, Chinese authorities rejected Tesla Motors’ trademark application because someone was squatting the trademark, consequentially blocking the company’s attempt to build a flagship store in Beijing.

What’s more, Apple’s corporate lawyers also had to pay up when Chinese trademark trolls made them cough up exorbitant amounts of money to buy a trademark they should have rightfully owned.

Although trademark laws exist to protect business, they’re sometimes used to harm them. To protect your company against any troll attacks, it’s best to get in touch with a trademark attorney and make sure your company is safe.

If you have any questions about trademark laws, feel free to ask in the comments.

Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech and Media Law Firm or their respective owners. All rights reserved. Check out this site for more.

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