If you have a logo, brand or other mark that you use to identify and market your product or service it is essential to ensure that it is both protected under intellectual property law and that it does not infringe upon another business’s intellectual property rights. The most common method of protecting trademarks is to register them through the Intellectual Property Office.
Trademark violation may occur where a business uses identical or similar marks for identical or similar goods. Basically, if there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, there is likely to be a trademark violation. This generally occurs where the public are lead to think that the products are the same or from the same business. Less frequently, a trademark violation may occur when use of the mark damages or takes unfair advantage of the reputation of the registered owner of the mark. This may occur when the goods are dissimilar but use the same or similar mark.
Trademark violations are only readily able to be countered when the trademark is registered. It is possible to protect an unregistered mark through the common law of passing off, however this can be a complex and costly case to establish.
Where you suspect a trademark violation the first step is generally to speak or write to the alleged infringer. However, you should obtain legal advice before doing this, as the law also protects traders from unjustifiable threats of trade mark infringement. This is because people might take costly action to change their mark to avoid threatened litigation, and thus you must be satisfied that such objection is justifiable.
If you would like to obtain legal advice on a trademark violation, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist intellectual property/ trademark solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local intellectual property / trademark solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 167 or complete the web-form above.