Trademark Law And Trademark Infringement
Trademarks play a crucial role in branding and are an essential component of many successful companies and corporations. A trademark helps customers recognize a brand and distinguishes itself and its products or services from its competitors. A trademark can be a name, logo, symbol, design, or phrase that is used to represent a company or its products or services. Similar to a trademark, a service mark represents the services offered by a company, though trademark is usually used in place of the term “service mark.”
Trademark law protects a company’s intellectual property by preventing others from using similar phrasing or design that could confuse customers and harm the brand. A trademark can create trust and credibility with customers so much so that some customers who are loyal to a brand will often look for that trademark when making purchasing decisions. Trademarks can remain in place for an unlimited number of 10-year increments, however the owner must file legal paperwork in a timely fashion for renewal.
Unfortunately, trademark infringement occurs frequently in the U.S. and in the state of Florida. When creating a trademark, it is vital for a person or company to do a trademark search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)’s website. Failing to do this can not only result in a future lawsuit, but also a weak trademark (a mark that can strongly be protected from third party use).
One of the key areas concerning trademark infringement is the relatedness of the goods or services provided by the two parties. If the two parties operate and sell in separate arenas, for example if one sells car tires and the other is an amusement park, the grounds for a lawsuit are substantially decreased. However, the plaintiff may argue that their mark is in threat of dilution, meaning that their well-known mark’s value will be diminished because of the other similar mark–that the other party’s mark will decrease the distinctiveness of the original mark or hurt its reputation due to being related to something that is unsightly or vulgar.
The rapid growth of Internet marketing and technology has created a complex and constantly shifting landscape in the field of trademark law, as courts struggle to apply the law to ever-newer and more novel applications of advertising and marketing tools. Therefore, when searching for a trademark litigation attorney, it is imperative that they are knowledgeable in the areas of Google Ad-Words, advertising, branding, trademark and trade dress fields.
In order for a trademark claim to be successful, the plaintiff must be able to prove that its mark is valid, is senior (older) than the defendants, and that the defendant’s mark will likely cause confusion to the average consumer in regard to the two companies’ goods and services. The court will determine if there is grounds for confusion among consumers and whether or not the two companies’ services or goods are closely related.