How Does a Poor Economy Affect Trademark and Copyright?

During times of economic volatility there are two truths about the economy, trademark registrations go up and there is an increase in infringement and counterfeiting that negatively economically impact trademarks. 

  • In a poor economy, trademark filings go up.
  • During this time, the amount of trademark infringement and counterfeiting go up.
  • Trademark registration is an excellent way to guard against trademark infringement and counterfeiting.

Two truths in a volatile economy

First, trademark filings go up.  The number of trademark filings has been on the rise in recent years, indicating that companies are taking a proactive approach to brand protection in an effort to solidify their brand name and better compete in an increasingly competitive market.

Second, the amount of trademark counterfeiting and infringement go up.  In a survey performed in 1998 (encompassing worldwide trade in athletic clothing and footwear and the effect on that industry from trademark infringement and counterfeiting) it discovered that companies participating in the survey lost an average of 22% of their total sales, or $2.0 billion in 1995 as a result of trademark infringement and counterfeiting. 

How do businesses lose money when they are the victims of trademark infringement and counterfeiting?

This survey found that companies who were the victims of trademark infringement and counterfeiting lost revenue from both a loss in per-capita sales and a loss in market share.

Trademark and copyright filings go up in a poor economy and with good reason.

The best defense is a good offense

Consequently, we ask the question: how do we better protect companies in economically uncertain times?  The two statistical trends above appear together for a reason.  The only way to access the federal court system and obtain a court order barring an infringing party from using your trademark is by registering it.  This also gives you the ability to obtain court awarded damages in the amount of triple the profits of the infringing party, plus costs and attorney fees.  It is often the ability to enforce this level of penalties that prevents an infringement case from turning into something that will take 2 to 3 years and $150,000 to $200,000 in attorney fees, not to mention a loss in market share and confidence in your mark.

In the end, a poor economy creates a greater desire for others to counterfeit or infringe on your trademark and attempt to profit from your goodwill and brand development and at the same time the corrective and protective measure is also created, i.e., an increase in trademark registrations.  In a competitive market your trademark is your most important asset.

Whether the economy is good or bad your trademark is your most important and most valuable asset.  If you want to file a trademark and protect it, you will want to consult with a trademark attorney who can protect your rights.

Contact an attorney with Veritas Business Law, LLC for a free consultation.

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