Every business needs to defend its trademarks, logos, trade dress, copyrights, and other branding components. If you fail to defend what's yours by law, you could eventually end up with a worthless brand and a struggling enterprise. One unexpected tool could help you successfully defend your brand in a range of circumstances. That tool? Nominal damages.  

Nominal damages — a win in court but with only a tiny amount awarded as damages — aren't common, but they can accomplish a lot. Here are a few of the most important uses. 

1. Before You've Been Financially Harmed 

Have you discovered some kind of infringement on your protected material early in its use? Then perhaps you haven't yet suffered financial losses from it. For example, you discover a competitor has produced a trademark or product packaging that looks very similar to yours. However, they just started production, so not many customers have yet seen the product.

You could wait until you see real harm in your bottom line, or you could seek to stop the infringement while acknowledging that you can't prove financial harm. The jury may award you a win but without compensatory damages. 

2. When You Need to Establish a History

In general, a company must defend its intellectual property in order to keep it. If you allow other parties to infringe, it emboldens more. And it demonstrates to the court that you don't really care about that part of your business. So if a small or sympathetic organization is misusing your copyrighted material, you may need to get a legal remedy to prove that your brand is essential to your business. 

3. When You Aren't Sure of Your Case

Do you have a good case proving both infringement and the direct link to financial harm from it? If not, you may worry that you would be wasting your time taking the perpetrator to court. Seeking nominal damages could help. You can successfully argue that the infringement has occurred, but you aren't tied to proving the financial harm. If the first part of your case is strong, you may still get an important win. 

Where to Start

Could nominal damages be the best way to protect your business? Whether you have a weak case, haven't yet suffered financial harm, or just need to be proactive about your brand, this tool can be powerful. Learn how and when to wield it by meeting with a civil law attorney in your state today.