Virginia Trademark Infringement Attorneys
A trademark is a word, symbol, or phrase used to identify a particular manufacturer or seller’s products and distinguish them from the products of another. Some familiar examples are the Nike “swoosh” and the “Coca-Cola” symbol. Trademarks make it easier for consumers and the public to quickly identify the source of a given product.
Protecting your intellectual property rights is crucial to the success of your company or business. Trademarks can be some of a company’s most valuable assets because they capture, in a tangible way, a company’s intangible value.
The public learns to identify a source based upon this identity mark. The public relies upon the trademark and believes that its services or goods will continue to meet a standard of quality that has been met in the past. This provides a certain level of predictability and assurance for the public and also protects the trademark owner’s investments in the names and marks in which they have earned goodwill. Goodwill is often the cornerstone of the owner’s business.
If a competitor attempts to hijack your trademark, you may be able to proceed with a trademark infringement suit if the following two requirements are met. First, you must show that you had a prior, protectable trademark before the infringing activity occurred. Second, you must show that your competitor’s identifying mark creates a “likelihood of confusion” regarding your product or company. In other words, if a competitor’s actions are likely to cause consumer confusion, causing consumers to believe your company is the source of the goods or sponsors or approves the goods, trademark infringement may have occurred.
In determining whether such confusion will occur or has occurred, courts will make a fact-intensive inquiry and examine several factors such as:
- similarity of marks;
- similarity of the goods or services;
- channels of trade or advertising;
- strength of the senior mark;
- sophistication of the purchasers;
- evidence of actual confusion; and
- the defendant’s intent.
The mere possibility of confusion between two competing marks is not sufficient to establish their similarity. Rather, there must be a likelihood that someone actually will be confused by the competing marks.
In order to preserve your trademark rights, it is critical that you vigilantly protect and enforce your trademark rights. After learning of a trademark infringement, you must take action to stop the infringement or you risk losing your trademark. It is also possible to abandon your trademark rights upon prolonged non-use.
Other than trade secrets, trademarks are probably the most common form of intellectual property that a company has. It is essential, therefore, that every company knows how to protect those assets. The Virginia Trademark Infringement Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. can help you protect and defend your company’s intellectual property, including trademarks. MartinWren, P.C.’s Trademark Infringement attorneys can help your growing company implement a policy for investigating potential infringing activity and, if infringement is found, advise you on what actions to take, including an injunction and other relief under the Lanham Act or the Virginia Trademark and Service Mark Act.