Trademark infringement litigation can be expensive and time consuming, and often could have been avoided if care had been taken at the outset to avoid infringing the trademark rights of another.
Is There a Likelihood of Confusion?
When two marks are too similar, there is a likelihood that consumers will be confused by the marks. Consumers may confuse one mark with the business reputation of the other. This consumer confusion creates problems if one company seeks to financially benefit from it by duping consumers into thinking that they are buy one product, when in fact they are getting an inferior product.
If marks look the same, or sound the same, there is a higher likelihood that a consumer would be confused by the two marks. Yet when marks are very different, there is a lower chance that consumers will get the two marks confused. The confusion does not have to actually occur, but merely the likelihood that consumer confusion could occur is usually sufficient for a finding of trademark infringement.
Have You Done Your Homework?
When you are getting ready to register a mark, it is important to take steps to avoid infringing on the existing trademark rights of others. Below are three tips to help you avoid trademark infringement.
Do Your Due Diligence. One of the best ways to avoid trademark infringement is to thoroughly research and review the kinds of marks that exist in your relevant field of commercial endeavor before you decide on your mark. If someone else already has a mark that is similar to the mark you want to use, you might find yourself infringing their trademark rights if you proceed with using your mark. Check the Internet and the trademark database maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as part of your research. Consider misspellings, synonyms and similar sounding marks and make sure that there are no other marks that could be confused with yours.
Understand How Trademarks Work. Make sure you have an understanding of how trademark protection works and how trademark infringement occurs. Many people rush into the idea of getting a mark, without fully understanding what types of rights come with it. Knowing about trademark priority, trademark distinctiveness, and how trademark protections are only applied to specific types of goods or services can be important to knowing whether you are at risk of infringing someone else’s trademark rights.
Consult With A Trademark Lawyer. Having a U.S. trademark attorney help you through the due diligence stage prior to filing your trademark application will help ensure that you have conducted a thorough search and taken the steps to avoid infringing another’s trademark rights.
For questions concerning the trademarks and trademark infringement, please contact Parsons & Goltry at patentsavers.com, or call 480-991-3435.
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