Trademark infringement is a serious issue that can damage a brand name. The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines trademark infringement as an unauthorized act of illegally using a trademark or service mark symbols on “competing or related goods and services.” For businesses to assure customers quality services and products, careful measures should be taken to prevent trademark infringement, especially when you are using this mark in advertisements, because the Facebook advertising cost can be quite a bit of money.
What Are Trademark Symbols?
Trademark symbols are used by businesses to safeguard their products and services. They are effective tools to inform the consumers about the quality standards of the products, assuring them of properly regulated business processes. Additionally, trademark symbols are legal documents that offer protection. They indicate that a certain brand name has been registered with the federal authorities, differentiating it from other brands in the same range of products. Certainly, trademark symbols secure the brand name against unlawful use of the symbols.
Trademark Infringement Penalties
Trademark infringement is a punishable offense. If any business organization uses an already registered symbol, the business or firm is liable to prosecution. Imitating registered trademark symbols can cause consumer confusion about the source of the products or services. However, the plaintiff in such an event, has to prove his/her allegation. The plaintiff must indicate that:
1) its trademark symbol was valid and legally protected,
2) it was the sole owner of the mark, and
3) the defendant’s use of the mark is likely to cause confusion among consumers.
There are monetary punishments which can amount to three times the profit gained by the accused during the infringement period. For more serious issues, along with the fine, the convicted business owner can be sentenced for up to 10 years. Being found guilty of trademark infringement is a serious blow for any business.
In today’s competitive markets, several businesses operate offer quite similar products. That is why product naming is such a crucial aspect of production. Businesses should look to observe the rules set by government in order to avoid trademark infringement. By carefully avoiding trademark infringement, new businesses can earn credibility and legitimacy in the market.
Third Party Policing
When it comes to trademark infringement lawsuits, one of the most famous was the Academy Awards vs. GoDaddy. In the lawsuit, the awards show tried to claim that GoDaddy was responsible for knowingly selling misleading domain names in order to allow purchasers to “cybersquat.” Cybersquatting is the new term that refers to incidences where individuals buy a domain name they expect big corporations will want to buy. They then sit on the digital property with intent to profit when the website’s namesake company comes calling. GoDaddy won the case. That sets the precedent for third-party policing of existing trademarks. You cannot expect a third-party service provider to police the web for your brand trademark. You will have to do this yourself if you suspect trademark infringement.
Trademark Infringement Suit
When can you bring a trademark infringement suit to court? If you are the owner of trademarked property, the unauthorized use of your trademark or one that is incredibly similar by a competing business is just cause to for a trademark infringement lawsuit. Want to know how to win a trademark infringement suit? Just be sure to prove to the judge and jury, if there is one, that the similar mark causes confusion for a particular customer segmentation, which in turn de-legitimizes your trademarked property. If you are able to convince the court of this, you are sure to win a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Of course, trademark infringement is one of the hot button issues in business. But, it can be stopped if proper precautions are taken. More often than not, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff to prove its allegations for any trademark violations. Careful decisions and observations have to be made in order to file a case for trademark infringement. On the other hand, for businesses looking to find a credible brand name, it is important to abide by the rules. By carefully following the trademark laws, trademark infringement can be avoided, helping consumers make better choices. Certainly, proper use of trademark symbols would improve the overall economic condition.
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