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Trademark management is the monitoring of a registered mark, name or symbol used in business or commercial enterprise. The management of a trademark includes keeping track of dates for renewals; enforcing the use of trademark and standards within a company; and monitoring trademark infringement, trademark use requests and trademark docketing. Managing a trademark is an essential task of a company whose brand image and name not only serve as the face of the company, but also signify the economic value and stability of the organization.
Trademark management includes overseeing the company’s portfolio of registered brands and new brands. Managers must file for national, regional and international trademarks and must research existing trademarks to see if someone else has pre-existing rights to the mark or brand. They also must record the trademarks with the customs or border protection agency to assist them in preventing goods from being imported into the country that are illegally using registered marks on their products. Managers also ensure trademarks are used within a certain period of time to meet all post-registration filing requirements and to ensure they do not expire.
Materials produced containing the trademark must use the mark correctly. Hiring a person or company to ensure the mark is used correctly on products and marketing materials not only maintains the consistency of a brand, but also prevents trademark disputes or challenges. Many companies partner with other organizations to create products and services, so co-branding materials are created. Managers experienced in trademark and intellectual property law have the experience to draft agreements to ensure the mark is used properly and that the co-branding will not jeopardize the company’s trademark claim. Managers also typically work with third parties to license images or other materials in their own marketing efforts and to ensure the company they are managing has the rights to the materials to avoid trademark infringement.
Enforcing the proper usage of a trademark and protecting the brand’s image and name is essential for any company wanting to maximize their brand’s marketing and economic power. Trademark management includes monitoring and investigating violations of trademark law. Managers will write and serve cease and desist letters, and they will follow up on cases and negotiate settlements. They will work with law enforcement, private investigators, intellectual property lawyers, Internet service providers and intellectual property associations to prosecute individuals who use the registered mark without permission. Sometimes, trademark management also involves organizing civil seizures or lobbying law enforcement for criminal investigations.
Trademark management also requires managers to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of trademark registration and local and international laws regarding intellectual property. Trademark managers are responsible for expense budgeting related to registering a trademark and using outside contractors such as lawyers or private investigators for services. They also maintain the database of all information and correspondence regarding the use of the registered mark.