Proof of Use = Documentation. How much and how good that documentation is will influence your chances of winning a litigation situation in most countries.
Entering into a litigation situation is a costly and time consuming process. Not just for your lawyer and your checkbook, but in terms of your time as well. The lawyer can only take the information you provide and process that into a legal argument. It is your back up documentation that gives that argument real weight.
Provable usage in great quantity is a key to international trademark strength and to the effective use of the Worldwide Famous argument to overcome certain types of rejections.
One of my lawyers recently told me:
What Proof ?
- Sales & Advertising Data for Country X
- Yearly reports (internal)
- Actual invoices showing dates, amounts, brand name, customer/vendor name, goods/services
- Purchase Order/Sales Agreements (showing the same details as above)
- Service contracts
- Fax, E-mail, Mail correspondence with customers/vendors
2. Third Party References, Worldwide
- Win any awards?
- Mentioned in industry magazines/blogs/newsletters?
- Any product recalls? Any Social Media references? (Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, UTube, etc.).
- Used in TV or movies ?
3. Legal Agreements for Country X
- Royalty reports, royalty agreements, distributor agreements, licensing agreements.
- All such documents should bear the full name of the: owner, brand and the product/service covered therein.
In most countries, the more evidence you can provide to establish the date of first use of the product/service, the better. The older the evidence you can provide, the better. In many countries 5 years is a critical trademark use date, and documents proving the age of the trademark can be particularly useful.
So, if you are facing a trademark “litigation situation”, and you want to know what are your chances of success...think first about the quality and quantity of back-up documentation you yourself can provide.
The chances of successful litigation based on Worldwide Famous Trademark arguments, regardless of country, are improved when both the trademark owner and the trademark attorney work together in a creative manner providing voluminous proof to solid legal arguments.