It’s your responsibility to protect your IP. The USPTO will not police your rights or initiate legal proceedings on your behalf. You should actively monitor the marketplace for any unauthorised use of your IP.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide cross-border measures for the protection of registered trade marks. If your trade mark or copyright is registered you can record it with the US CBP, a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security. This can be done electronically and will help the fight against fake and pirated goods being imported to the US.

What if someone’s using my trade mark?

If you do find unauthorised use of your IP there are a few ways you can take action:

  • With the help of a lawyer, you can also use a cease and desist letter. This warns an offender of your rights and asks them to stop any activity that may cause infringement.
  • There are also several alternative dispute resolution methods that can be used. These can involve mediation or arbitration and are often cheaper and faster than litigation.

IP law in the US is complex and you may wish to pursue legal action only when other enforcement methods have failed. If legal action is necessary, you should consult a lawyer who specialises in IP law. Civil actions can be commenced. In some circumstances infringement can be a criminal offence. Suspected criminal violations of IP rights in the US can be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for potential investigation. Administrative actions also are available for cybersquatting of trade marks in domain names in generic top-level domains as well as in .us.

Need help? Find out more about finding an attorney who specialises in US IP law. Your Australia trade mark attorney may have a US trade mark attorney with whom s/he routinely works.