While California business owners may be tempted to overlook their importance, trademarks can be vital to the profitability of an emerging business investment.
Trademarks are a type of intellectual property that consist of letters, words and images that signify a business’s brand of products and services to potential customers.
One need only thing of a few of Newport Beach’s most famous businesses, and the images or phrases associated with them, to realize the importance of trademarks.
A business can and should do what it needs to do in order to protect its trademarks. However, even if it property registers and uses the trademark, another business may still infringe on the trademark.
Infringement can take a number of forms
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, infringement can happen in one of two ways. In either case, the person claiming infringement has to have a valid trademark that has what is called priority over the mark of the alleged infringer.
If the infringer’s mark looks similar enough to that of the business which is claiming infringement, then the court may determine that the infringer’s mark could cause the public to be confused about which business is promoting certain goods or services.
Moreover, even if the infringer’s mark is not confusing, a business can make out an infringement case if the infringer’s mark could diminish the reputation of the victim’s business or serve to dilute the uniqueness of the business’s trademark.
Victims of infringement may be entitled to court relief and damages
Someone who successfully claims trademark infringement may be entitled to a court order requiring the infringer to stop using the offending mark and to destroy or surrender any goods bearing the infringing mark.
The court may also award the victim attorney fees and other damages, including lost profits.
Claiming trademark infringement can be a complicated legal process, and those interested in exploring this option should consider speaking with an experienced attorney before doing so.