Trademark News & Screw-ups Sioux Falls funeral home files trademark lawsuit over use of name "Heritage"

Without a federal trademark registration, good luck trying to enforce your common-law trademark on the word "HERITAGE" against a competing funeral services provider! Especially since someone ELSE, a Michigan-based Heritage Services, LLC, had actually trademarked "HERITAGE SERVICES" for funeral services in 2012. According to court documents, Sioux Falls-based plaintiff had been using the name since 1987, while the Michigan company that registered the trademark started using it in 2009. The plaintiff had never bothered to file its own trademark or oppose the Michigan company's application. None of this means that the plaintiff can't possibly win. But by failing to take proper steps to secure their brand, they ensured that the battle will be painful and expensive and that even in the best-case scenario, they will end up with severely limited rights to the name that they could (and should) have easily owned federally since 1987.

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