Make Sure Your Brand Name Isn’t a Liability

What is Liability by Trademark Dilution?

One of the strongest reasons to research your potential Trademark name is to avoid the possibility of trademark litigation by way of Trademark Dilution. Trademark Courts are primarily concerned with whether a trademark name causes the public to be confused as to the source of the goods. When the simultaneous use of a similar or same Tradename, or symbol creates confusion with a famous Trademark brand in the minds of consumers, then dilution is likely to be found. One of the supporting arguments for dilution protection is that some trademark brands have become so famous that they deserve a unique level of protection than the standard Trademark registration.         

What is Needed to Prove Dilution?

The Trademark owner claiming infringement must prove that their tradename is famous, or instantly recognizable by the public. Whether this is a certain creator of expansively used electronic tablets or smart phones, or a well-known coffee available in most cities across the U.S., most of us can easily think of a few brand names that we would know anywhere whether we see the logo, or the brand name. These are famous marks. If a mark is established as a famous trademark, or brand, then the owner must prove there is a likelihood of dilution that may occur by another’s use of the same trademark name or symbol.

Forms of Trademark Dilution

Freeriding: When an entity intentionally uses another trademark name or symbol to mislead consumers, and benefit from the fame and good will of the established mark.

Blurring: This form of dilution occurs when a third party uses a famous mark or name on a product that is entirely unrelated to the goods associated with the original trademark owner’s name. For example, using the name ‘Xerox’ as a brand name for clothing. This type of use weakens the distinctiveness that the original trademark name and product is known for.

Tarnishment: Occurs when a trademark name is used inappropriately, or in a way that may be offensive to the trademark owner’s policies. Free speech and fair use considerations often arise when tarnishment claims are filed.

Call Behrends Legal today to file your Trademark application, and to provide guidance with your Trademark name choice. .

*This article is not intended to be construed as legal advice, and does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Prior to making any significant decisions related to its content, you should seek the counsel of a licensed lawyer for your state.

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