You may use trademarks to protect your logo and products, as well as the name of your company. Sometimes, other business owners may allege that your trademark infringes on their materials. You have several options in this situation.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trademark infringement occurs when a company uses a trademarked item without permission. A company may also use a logo or slogan that resembles another business’ materials. This can make it unclear which company put out certain products.
What happens during the process?
If someone brings a civil action against your company, there are several things that might happen. After reviewing the evidence, a court may rule that you have not infringed on the trademark. Legal officials could also determine that any similarities in the trademark will not cause confusion.
However, sometimes a court may rule that your company has infringed on the trademark. In this situation, you may have to modify your slogan, logo and other materials. Additionally, a court could order your company to pay damages.
How can business owners protect their company?
When someone alleges that your company is infringing on a trademark, you should look into the situation. You typically need to provide evidence that you own your trademarked material. One step may be to search the USPTO’s trademark database. This database contains a list of trademark registrations, and it allows you to see which company filled out an application first. Sometimes, the company that has had a trademark longer may have a stronger right to the material.
Courts usually consider whether similarities between trademarks will confuse consumers. You may have to demonstrate that your customers understand the difference between the companies. Additionally, you could show that your marketing materials reach a different audience.
While some trademark issues may be simple to resolve, others could be more complicated. You may need to collect a significant amount of evidence to show that your trademark is valid and essential to your business.