Trademark Bully. A label often used to characterize a trademark owner by targets of enforcement efforts.
Sounds bad – conjures up images of a powerful, large corporate entity trying to crush the little guy. Congress even asked the Trademark Office to research and prepare a report about it. As a defense to enforcement efforts by trademark owners, some targets of enforcement efforts have taken to social media to attempt to generate negative publicity against trademark owners.
A trademark bully is a trademark owner who uses its trademark right to harass and intimidate another business beyond what the law might be reasonably interpreted to allow. It does not mean big vs. little – to the contrary, big trademark owners are often expected and even required to be the most aggressive in enforcing their rights.
In this post, we consider how to assess whether an enforcement action is reasonable, how to avoid being labelled a “bully,” and how to fight back against such a charge.