Trademark law provide companies with important exclusive ownership rights to use their trademark on goods and services to the exclusion of other parties. If a competitor begins to use an identical or similar trademark for the same or related products, a claim of trademark infringement may be the result.
Being accused of trademark infringement by another party is a serious claim. In order to assess the merits of such allegations, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of the definition of trademark infringement and the legal standards for prevailing in such an action.
Trademark Infringement Basics
Generally speaking, trademark infringement is when one party is using a trademark that is confusingly similar to an existing owner's trademark such that there exists a "likelihood of confusion" between the goods and services offered by the junior owner and the senior owner. Like most areas of law, whether a party can prevail in a trademark infringement claim is dependent on the law and facts of the case. Certain factors the courts look at in comparing the trademarks of plaintiffs and defendants include the following:
-- similarity in sight, sound, and meaning
-- relatedness of the goods and services being offered for sale under the marks
-- the fame of the senior user's trademark
-- the number and nature of similar trademarks on similar goods and services
Know Your Trademark Infringement Rights
If you or your company is involved in a trademark infringement dispute, you have rights. There are many good resources to find out more about trademark law, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office and my related blog, the Trademark Law and Litigation Guide. Since trademark law is complex, it is always advisable to speak with an experienced CT trademark infringement attorney prior to undertaking any action or responding to a trademark cease and desist letter.