Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.
Here are some examples of trademark infringement:
- A company selling clothing with the logo “Adidas” without the permission of Adidas.
- A restaurant opening up with the name “McDonald’s” in a similar location to an existing McDonald’s restaurant.
- A company using the slogan “Just Do It” for its athletic wear products without the permission of Nike.
- A website using the domain name “apple.com” without the permission of Apple.
In all of these cases, the unauthorized use of the trademark is likely to cause confusion among consumers, who may believe that the goods or services are being offered by the trademark owner.
Here are some factors that courts consider when determining whether there is trademark infringement:
- The similarity of the trademarks.
- The similarity of the goods or services.
- The strength of the trademarks.
- The likelihood of confusion among consumers.
- The intent of the infringer.
If a court finds that there has been trademark infringement, the trademark owner may be able to obtain an injunction, damages, or both.
Here are some tips to avoid trademark infringement:
- Do your research to make sure that the trademark you want to use is not already in use.
- Use a unique and distinctive trademark.
- Register your trademark with the USPTO.
- Be careful about using similar trademarks, even if they are not identical.
If you are unsure whether your use of a trademark is infringing, consult with WINTER LLP today.