What is Trademark Dilution?
In order to prevail in a trademark infringement claim, a commercial entity must be able to prove that there was a reasonable likelihood that customer confusion was created by the other party’s use of a similar mark. However, even if there is no reasonable possibility of customer confusion, your company is not necessarily out of luck. In the event that another party uses a substantially similar trademark, and it reduces the value of your brand, you can take legal action. This type of action is known as a trademark dilution claim. If your company’s brand value has been diminished due to trademark dilution in Florida, please contact an experienced West Palm Beach trademark litigation lawyer today to learn more about your rights and legal options.
The Elements of Trademark Dilution
In 2006, Congress passed the Trademark Dilution Revision Act (TDRA) in order to clarify confusion over previous trademark dilution laws. Prior to 2006, the Supreme Court had issued an opinion that significantly narrowed the protection that companies had against trademark dilution. By passing this law, Congress overruled that decision and once against strengthened company’s ability to protect the value of their brand. In order to prevail in a claim under the TDRA, a company must be able to establish each of the following four legal elements:
- Their trademark must have been sufficiently famous and distinctive, so that it qualified for legal protection;
- Their trademark must have been used for a legitimate business purpose;
- The allegedly diluting mark must have first been used after the protected trademark had already become famous; and
- The use of the allegedly diluting mark must have caused likely damage to the protected brand.
The Two Forms of Trademark Dilution
- Blurring: This is the more traditional form of trademark dilution. Blurring occurs when a brand’s value has been affected, but when no true customer confusion was created. For example, imagine that your company achieved a distinctive trademark as a retail clothing brand. If another business used your trademark to sell a product in an entirely separate market, no customer confusion likely occurred. However, the actions of that other business could still have damaged the value of your brand simply diluting the distinctiveness of your trademark.
- Tarnishing: You may also be able to bring a trademark dilution claim for tarnishment. Essentially, tarnishment occurs when the actions of another party cause your trademark to be associated with offensive content. These type of claims can sometimes be challenging, as the other party may be able to assert a defense under the fair use doctrine. In the event that your company is facing brand tarnishment, you need to consult with an aggressive trademark lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Office Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our trademark litigation lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide variety of intellectual property issues, including trademark dilution claims. If you believe that another party has caused financial damage to your brand, we can help. Our team handles trademark litigation cases throughout the West Palm Beach region, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.