Reporting Trademark Infringement

Reporting trademark infringement is essential to safeguarding the protections that a trademark provides. Moreover, if a trademark owner isn't proactive about protecting their intellectual property, it may create some confusion about who actually owns the trademark — especially in cases where the mark isn't officially registered. Learn more about reporting trademark infringement to safeguard your rights as a trademark owner.

How to Report Trademark Infringement

If the trademark owner sues for infringement in civil court, he or she must prove that the infringement would likely confuse the owner's customers. To prove trademark infringement, the trademark owner must demonstrate that he or she was using the mark and has clearly established ownership. Established ownership may be demonstrated through an official registration of that mark with the U.S. Patent Office or by having used that mark commercially.

Trademark infringement cases often end with an injunction against the infringing company. This prohibits that company from using the owner's mark. Courts may also award payment to the plaintiff, including the cost of attorney's fees and compensation for lost profit because of the infringement.

A trademark owner must report an infringement to the court system. Cases where there is clear ownership and infringement of a trademark are typically short and straightforward.

Though a report to the court system is the only official report a person must make, a trademark owner can often report trademark infringement to a website or company where the infringement is occurring. This may result in a more affordable and quicker fix of the infringing activity.

How to Report Trademark and Other Intellectual Property Infringement on Facebook

Trademark infringement often occurs on Facebook. Thankfully, the platform has made it easy to report infringing activity. A business or individual account can report the infringement on Facebook with just a few clicks.

Outside of officially contacting Facebook to remove the infringing activity, you can contact the infringer either on their profile or group page or through a private message to let them know about the issue. You can also post a cease and desist letter in a private message or mail the letter to a physical address if the page has provided one.

Basic intellectual property information, copyright infringement information, and trademark infringement information is available on Facebook's help page. You can also find more information about reporting copyright and trademark infringement on that page.

Report Trademark Infringement Through Facebook's Online Form

Follow these steps to submit a report about infringement on Facebook.

  1. Submit a report with the platform.
  2. Provide your contact information and identify yourself as the trademark owner. A business or attorney may also file a report and indicate who is the official trademark owner at this step.
  3. Provide the requested trademark information. This may include the registration number, where the mark is registered, what the mark protects, a link to Patent Office's registration info, and a digital copy of the registration certificate.
  4. If your trademark application is pending, provide the application number. If you're filing a common law trademark infringement claim — meaning you're the first user of the mark but don't have an official registration — you'll need to explain your basis for filing an infringement. Plan on providing evidence, such as images and dates, to demonstrate your first use of the mark.
  5. Describe and link to the infringing content.

In cases of obvious infringement, Facebook should correct the infringement without needing any official legal action on your part.

Google's AdWords Trademark Policy

Google's AdWords platform is another source where you may encounter infringing activity. Google takes trademark infringement seriously and will investigate any report that you file. However, the company can't communicate with the infringer to help you reach a solution. You'll have to deal with the infringer personally or hire a trademark attorney to help with this process.

To keep other companies from continuing to use your trademark in AdWords text ads, you must submit a valid complaint with Google.

How to Submit a Trademark Complaint to Google

Follow these steps to submit a report of infringement on a Google platform:

  1. Carefully review Google's trademark policy.
  2. If you're eligible to file a complaint, fill out and submit an official form.
  3. Provide an email address where advertisers may reach you about authorization to use the trademark.

Google will send you an email confirmation after you submit the online form. Google will then review the claim and send an email explaining how they'll proceed with the infringement investigation.

If you need help with reporting trademark infringement, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.