##Do I have anything to worry about?
I own a business which sells promotional products which includes promotional products for schools like small footballs, pom poms, concession cups, etc. I mostly sell online and through telephone sales. I am a distributor for manufacturers. I have been in business since 2005.
Today, I got a certified letter from another company with a similar name. They claim that they have been in business since 1962. Basically they are demanding me to stop using the term Boosters in association with my business. I have not used their logo or any of their pictures, etc. I sell all of my products through manufactures of the product through a database in the promotional product industry called Distributor Central. I done a search on the USPTO.gov website and did not find them as being registered or having exclusive rights to the term Boosters.
~ I am in Georgia; They are in Alabama
Yes. You should take action. Time may be of the essence.
Foremost, you should consult with a lawyer. Time may be of the essence. When a trademark lawyer determines your potential liability for trademark infringement, the trademark lawyer will consider a wide variety of factors. For example, how similar is your name to your competitor's name? How similar are the products that you sell? Do your goods tend to travel in the same channels of trade? Is there any customer confusion in the marketplace about who is providing or sponsoring or endorsing the goods or services? If there is no confusion, how long have both marks been viewed by the same set of consumers? In all, there is a list of at least fourteen factors that trademark lawyers consider.
In addition to rights from the US Federal Government registration, trademark rights come from at least three other sources. First, Each state has its own registration system, there could be rights related to state statutes. Second, there is a common law of trademarks, in other words, anyone who uses a trademark receives automatic protection that essentially springs out of every sales transaction that uses the trademark. While these kinds and scope of rights can be difficult to show in court, you should consult with a lawyer to be well advised. Third, there are portion of the Lanham act that provide protection, even without registration.
Also, when you consult with a lawyer, the lawyer will consider and advise you about other potential legal liabilities, and, your rights. For example, sending a demand letter creates a legal threat to your business. You might have a right to sue for a declaratory judgment that you have done nothing wrong, and, in doing so, you might obtain a home court advantage, so to speak.
Finally, you may also wish to consult your insurance company. Some insurance policies include coverage for advertising injury, and, older policies may also include protection for trademark infringement. There may be a reporting requirement for such claims. If the insurance company will defend you, so much the better.
Good luck dealing with your demand letter.