Trademark infringement

 

A trademark is a unique mark of identification for an individual or business allowing them to differentiate their company, products or services from those of competitors.

Trademarks are typically in the form of a name or word but can also be represented graphically.

What is trademark infringement?

A trademark is only protected from infringement if it has been registered, in which case the owner of the trademark may commence legal proceedings against a party which infringes that registration.

A trademark which is not registered cannot be infringed as such, and the trademark owner cannot bring trademark infringement proceedings.

Trademark infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the authorisation of the trademark owner or any licensees. Trademark infringement may occur when one party, the ‘infringer’, uses a trademark which is identical or similar to a trademark owned by another party in the course of a trade.

The main types of infringement are:

  • Use of an identical sign for identical goods or services
  • Use of an identical or similar sign for similar goods or services leading to a likelihood of confusion
  • Use of an identical or similar sign if the use is detrimental to or takes unfair advantage of the original trademark

A party accused of trademark infringement may be able to defeat infringement proceedings if it can establish a valid exception e.g. comparative advertising. There are also defences to infringement such as invalid registration of the trademark or honest use of the trademark.

Passing off

In the case of unregistered trademarks the common law of passing off applies. Passing off actions can be complex and costly. Whether a passing off action will be successful at court depends largely upon the degree of similarity of the marks, considered in the context of the markets in which the products or services exist.

A passing-off action requires proof that you have built up a reputation in the mark, and that you have been harmed in some way by your competitor’s use of the mark. The court will consider:

  • Whether the similarity of the marks would be likely to confuse and deceive a substantial number of persons
  • Whether damage would result to the goodwill of the business if the infringement were allowed to continue

If you would like to bring infringement proceedings against someone or have had infringement proceedings brought against you then it is very important that you seek legal advice immediately. Ignoring the problem can be seen as an acceptance of the infringement in the eyes of the law, and slow intervention could have hugely detrimental effects on your case.

For a concrete example of trademark infringement in the media, see our article on One Direction and trademark infringement.

Has another company used your trademark illegally, causing you to suffer loss of business? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist intellectual property solicitor who can help you to resolve the dispute before you suffer any further financial loss. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

Call
0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant

 

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.