After registering your mark, the law protects your rights to use it. Whether you sell a physical product or a service, no one has the right to use your trademark or imitate it in such a way as to confuse consumers and affect your business.
No business owner can use a legally registered mark without its owner's consent. Doing so is what is known as trademark infringement. Whether someone uses an entire original mark or uses a part of it as their own, you have the right to sue them for trademark infringement. You can also face charges if someone feels that the mark you are currently using is similar to theirs or somehow imitates theirs.
You can sue or be sued for trademark infringement in either a state or federal court. According to the USPTO, most trademark owners decide to sue suspects in federal courts.
A trademark owner who can prove infringement, with the help of a qualified attorney, of course, stands to receive several remedies. Some of these remedies include;
As a small business owner, you must save as much money as you can to grow your business. Having to pay someone because you used their trademark is not good for your business. Keep in mind that this monetary relief is often a substantial amount of money.
However, if you are the one receiving monetary relief, well, that will come in handy. You could use the money to add to your stock, for instance.
Once a plaintiff argues and wins their case in court, the defendant usually receives a court order to stop them from using the mark.
So, how exactly does the court determine whether the case presented is a legitimate case of infringement or merely a case of unhealthy rivalry?
Determining a Legitimate Case of Trademark Infringement
Feeling threatened by a new entry into the market is an expected feeling. You are only human. However, with that fear of competition comes the desire to eliminate the threat, causing many to take drastic actions. Accusing another business owner of trademark infringement is an example of a step you might decide to take to eliminate the threat. Before you get to that point, below is some important information for you.
The court always considers evidence before determining whether a particular case is a case of trademark infringement or simply a case of unhealthy rivalry. For a plaintiff to present a valid case, they must show the court that they own a valid trademark or service mark. You must also show that the other party’s use of the mark can confuse consumers.
When considering the evidence, courts consider several factors, including;
● the degree of resemblance between the marks at issue.
● whether the goods or services you and the other party are dealing with are similar to the extent to which consumers assume, they are from one source.
● where the services or goods are advertised and marketed.
● where the goods and services are sold.
● the intentions the defendant had when they adopted the mark.
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This article is for educational purposes only and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.