Skip to main content
How to Determine Trademark Infringement?

This post was inspired by all the hullabaloo caused by the iPhone (who owns it? Apple? Cisco?).

Determining if marks infringe can be tricky and each situation varies from another.


The general rules to keep in mind are:

1) Are the names similar in Sound, Appearance or Meaning?


2) Are the industries the same or similar to one another?

3) Are the names confusingly similar to the average consumer? In other words, could customers be confused and assume that both companies are affiliated?

4) Do the trade areas cross? What about the advertising routes -- are the products/services advertised in common places?


Here's what the
USPTO has to say about this matter:

"The principal factors considered by the examining attorney in determining whether there would be a likelihood of confusion are:


the similarity of the marks;
and
the commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application.

To find a conflict, the marks do not have to be identical, and the goods and/or services do not have to be the same. It may be enough that the marks are similar and the goods and/or services related."


If you find yourself trying to determine if a similarly named company is going to be a problem, it's best to contact a private search company or a trademark attorney.


What is Conflict? What is a Strong Similarity?
Trademark FAQ




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark International Class: Class 35 (Advertising and Business Services)
All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at one of these trademark classes – class 35.

What is International Class 35 All About?

Each class has a short title heading that gives a snapshot of what that class is all about -- IC 35's short title is advertising and business services. Pretty vague, eh? The USPTO has 1476 accepted descriptions that fit into IC 35; check them out here.

The first part of IC 35’s description, advertising, is straightforward. If it’s advertising, marketing or promoting services that are being offered, then IC 35 is where it goes. Now there are going to be some exceptions, as with anything related to trademarks.
Tangible advertising goods, such as signs, flyers, brochures, are NOT going to be in IC 35 as those items are n…

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…

Trademark 101: Should You Trademark?

Now that we know what a trademark is and is not, let’s dive into the next logical question: should you trademark?
The easiest way to answer this question is to look at your business and your plans for it.
-Is the name, logo, or slogan an integral part of your business? -Are you doing business on a statewide or nationwide or international level? If you’re only doing business citywide or countywide, do you see potential for geographical growth? -Would another business in your industry using the same or similar name hurt your business? In other words, is it possible you’d lose customers if someone had the same or similar name in your industry?
If you answered yes to any of the above then exploring a trademark is the way to go.
Here’s what a US Federal trademark gives you:
·A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration (whereas a state registration only provides rights…