In case of conflict you have the advantage if you can prove that you have actually made use of your protective rights. Document things such as:
- The use and marketing of your invention: This is particularly important when the invention is not patented. If you are accused of patent infringement later, it can be useful to have proof of when you marketed your invention. If this occurred before the plaintiff applied for a patent, you can contest the novelty of his patent and have it possibly declared invalid and revoked (an ‘invalidity claim’).
- The use of your trade mark: If you do not use your registered trade mark for five consecutive years, someone else can request that it be fully, or partially (in the case where you use it for only some of the goods and service classes for which it is registered), cancelled. Afterwards you can no longer assert your trade mark rights. That’s why you need to document your trade mark use thoroughly!
- The use of unregistered signs: If you have been using a sign before someone else applies for trade mark registration, that person cannot prevent you from continuing to use the sign in the same way as before.
Good to know
- Save your documents long enough! Protective rights often last longer than what is legally required for business documents. In case of litigation you might have to prove the entire length of period during which you used it.
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