The right tool for the job: selecting forums for trademark disputes

By Jedediah Wakefield and Andrew P Bridges

All too often, trademark lawyers advocate for the forum which is most familiar and comfortable. Instead of letting habit influence the choice of the forum, the nature of the controversy and the brand owner’s business objectives should guide the process

As the saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” But when it comes to brands, a wide selection of tools is available for addressing the different challenges that brand owners may face. Those wanting to enforce their trademark rights in the United States may choose from an array of tribunals, each with its own function, procedures and powers. The major options are the following:

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