There you are walking around the street when you suddenly see a sign having a very familiar look. Then you remember that it looks awfully like your own trademark! Whether they did it deliberately or not, another business that has a mark similar to yours can definitely affect your business negatively, especially if you had the trademark first. So, what should you do?
Strictly speaking, the first thing you should consider is if your trademark is registered or not. That’s simply because if your trademark is not registered, you’ll have little to no protection under the law and you’ll have a hard time fighting for it at court. In common language, when you say “trademark” people immediately assume that it is officially recognized at court already. But that is simply not the case. So, in order to protect your rights and claim ownership over a trademark, you need to have it registered first before anything else.
If you find out that someone else is using your trademark illegally, one of the best actions to primarily take is to discuss the situation with a lawyer. That way, you will be able to gather strong evidence and have a smoother process in case you really want to take the matter to court. Evidence could be anything that shows that the other business is using a trademark very similar to yours. They might, for example, have products or services that show obvious signs of imitation. Aside from having a lawyer, you could also hire a private investigator.
If you plan to take immediate action and consider bringing the issue to court, sending a letter of cease and desist should be one of the first steps to take. A letter of cease and desist basically states that the individual or business should stop illegal activities else the matter will be taken to court. If they refuse to halt their activities, then you should take legal action against them. Given that you have enough evidence of trademark infringement, you will most likely win the case (again, especially if your trademark is registered).
If you find that the other party’s activities have given you significant losses due to their infringement, you can also demand compensation under the right grounds. The amount you ask for, of course, will be approved or disapproved by the court.