Small businesses in Washington can have assets of various types, including intellectual property. This type of property ownership exists for closely held businesses, including enterprises jointly owned by spouses. Business owners may wonder what can be done if a trademark infringement occurs and how long they might have to bring a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Trademark infringement and the statute of limitations
A statute of limitations establishes the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed in regard to some type of legal matter. This includes matters involving business transactions and litigation, trademark infringement matters and other types of commercial lawsuits. Generally speaking, when it comes to an allegation involving a trademark infringement, a lawsuit must be filed four years from the date of that encroachment.
One caveat exists to the four-year statute of limitations to bring a trademark infringement lawsuit. If such an infringement is part of an unfair competition claim, a lawsuit must be filed within two years.
With this duly noted, there is sometimes conflict between federal courts, including on the appellate level, regarding the existence of a statute of limitations in regard to certain types of trademark infringement case. Specifically, this involves lawsuits arising from a federal law known as the Lanham Act.
Missing the statute of limitations deadline
As a general rule, the consequences of failing to file a trademark infringement lawsuit within the time period mandated by law can be significant. The stark reality is that if an individual or business misses the statute of limitations filing deadline, that person or entity can be precluded forever from taking legal action in regard to a specific trademark infringement.
Trademark infringement cases are highly complicated legal matters. An individual, business or other entity that faces the prospect of pursuing this type of litigation would do well to consult with an attorney. An initial consultation with legal counsel is typically scheduled at no cost.