If you discover another business or entity using a trademark similar to yours, you may feel like you have to act quickly to stop the infringement. While there are other options aside from litigation to resolve these issues, there are a few things that business owners must know before they move forward with any kind of legal action.
Important: Consider the consumer
There is no doubt that your trademark is important to your business and its long-term success. That is one of the reasons why misusing or infringing on another business’s trademark is such a serious issue in the business world.
However, it is critical for business owners to know that the courts will place a large emphasis on the effect the suspected infringement would have on the consumer. This is due to the fact that the likelihood of confusion is one of the primary issues to consider in a trademark infringement dispute.
What contributes to the likelihood of confusion?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) describes trademark infringement as the misuse of a registered trademark that will likely create confusion or mistakes about the product or businesses offering that product. This likelihood of confusion is an important factor to understand and evaluate if your business faces the risk or threat of infringement.
To assess if there is a likelihood of confusion and, in turn, trademark infringement, you should consider these questions:
- Do the services or products compete with each other, or are they unrelated?
- How similar are the trademarks?
- Will it confuse consumers if the other company uses a similar trademark?
- How similar are the products or services offered?
- Will the same consumers likely see or use these two products?
Not all of these issues have to apply. However, answering these questions can be critical when New Jersey business owners are determining how they should move forward in these cases.
Regardless, business owners should confer with an experienced business attorney if they fear someone infringed on their trademark. That way, they can find the option that best protects their business in the long run.