A trademark is a design, word, phrase or symbol that distinguishes a party from another. The party is usually a company or individual. A trademark is how people recognize a company or brand. It is different from a copyright. A copyright is a legally protect work such as a song, movie, novel or painting. A person can infringe on a trademark or copyright. This means they use the symbol or design without permission.
What Does Trademark Infringement Mean?
Trademark infringement is the use of a service mark or trademark that is connected to or used on services or goods without permission. A service mark is a symbol, word, design or phrase that identifies a service such as a cleaning service or computer service. A person may use the actual trademark without permission. They can also use a different trademark in a way that may cause confusion. For instance, consumers may mistake the generic brand that uses a similar symbol with a national brand.
What Can Happen if a Company or Person Uses a Trademark without Permission?
A person or company who believes their trademark or service mark was used without permission can hire Trademark Lawyers to sue the wrongful party in civil court. When they own the trademark, they are called the trademark holder. The civil court may be federal or state court depending on the circumstances. Most trademark infringement cases are filed in federal court.
Legal Remedies for Resolving Trademark Infringement Action
A trademark holder who wins their case has many legal remedies. A legal remedy is a way the court tries settle the dispute. For instance, a court may order an injunction. This stops the defendant from using the mark in question. Another legal remedy is to order any product with the trademark destroyed.
The court may order the defendant to pay the trademark holder for using the mark. Payment may include but is not limited to profits earned while using the trademark. The court also orders the defendant to pay the trademark holder’s legal fees.
How to Know a Trademark is Infringed?
Evidence is needed to prove a company or person used a trademark or service mark without permission. They must first prove they own the mark. Ownership is made by registering the trademark with the government. They also must prove the two marks are identical or similar enough to cause confusion. Other factors courts may consider include how each party’s products and goods are advertised, sold and marketed to consumers. If there were any purchasing conditions, they will also be included as evidence at trial. However, the type of evidence needed will vary by trademark infringement case.
Contact a Trademark Attorney Regarding Trademark Infringement
A trademark holder doesn’t automatically win their case even if the marks are identical. They must prove their case or negotiate a settlement. If the court finds for the defendant, they will not obtain any legal remedy. Thus, it’s important to discuss the situation with a lawyer.