FAQs About Trademark Infringement
What is Trademark Infringement and what are the consequences?
Trademark infringement occurs when one uses a word mark or design mark that is found to be likely to confusing to another pre-existing trademark. In general, courts tend to compare the sight, sound and meaning between the marks to determine whether a "likelihood of confusion" exists and also look to how close or related are the goods/services in question. In addition, an important question to be determined is how "distinctive" the trademark in question is. The categories of trademark distinction include generic marks, descriptive marks, suggestive marks and fanciful/arbitrary marks. Generic marks are not afforded any trademark protection rights, while suggestive and especially fanciful/arbitrary marks receive the highest level of distinction. Descriptive marks are afforded protection but require an additional showing of "secondary meaning" or additional proof that the public has come to consider the descriptive mark as distinctive.
If trademark infringement is proven, similar to patent infringement, the remedies include monetary damages, including lost profits, attorney's fees/costs and injunctive relief. If trademark infringement is found to be willful, then the court can award treble damages or "triple" any monetary damage awards as a way of punishing the infringer for its actions.
Our Trademark Attorneys have wide-ranging experience in prosecuting and defending against trademark lawsuits before the United States District Courts, the United States Court of Appeals, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. In seeking to meet the goals of our Clients, we are meticulous in our analysis of infringement. We carefully evaluate the distinctiveness of the trademark at issue, its use, and whether a likelihood of confusion exists between the trademark and the competitor's trademark. We help our Clients establish their trademark lawsuit goals, which may be to successfully defend against a trademark infringement lawsuit and preserve their rights to use certain trademarks, or to pursue a trademark infringement lawsuit against infringers and procure injunctive relief to prevent continued infringing use. We constantly re-evaluate the possible results and risks of any trademark infringement lawsuit, and communicate those possible results and risks to the Client on a regular basis. Moreover, our Trademark Litigators adhere to the Ten Commandments of Litigation, which we developed solely for the benefit of our Clients. We also have experience handling cases alleging, among other things, infringement under the Lanham Act, including word marks, design marks, trade dress, and slogans; improperly registered trademarks; dilution of famous trademarks; violations of the Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act of 1999; and, unfair competition claims under the Lanham Act and under state law.
For a free initial consultation about your intellectual property rights, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We service clients all across the United States and internationally.