Protect Your Brand. Contact a Trademark Litigation Lawyer for Assistance
Trademark law helps businesses and institutions safeguard certain elements of their brand that make it unique. At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our trademark practice is built on decades of experience helping clients register their trademarks and protect them from infringement. We understand the various and complicated questions that often come up in intellectual property matters. Each trademark litigation lawyer take pride in navigating legal system for the people, businesses and institutions that we represent.
Our firm has built a strong track record of success during more than three decades of representing clients in trademark and other intellectual property matters. We have also been recognized as one of the leading plaintiff’s law firms in the country.
Trademark Legal Protections
Trademark protection is available for designs, slogans, phrases, and other expressions that consumers identify with the company and its products or services. Federal law prevents other companies from using the same or similar marks.
A company or institution isn’t required to register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark office, but there are good reasons for filing an application. Registration puts others on notice that your mark is legally protected. In the event that a competitor infringes on the trademark, registration is helpful in court to prove that you have the sole right to use the mark. A trademark litigation lawyer is key to ensuring that the trademark is registered and that infringers and made accountable.
A mark must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for protection under federal trademark law. First, it must be unique and distinctive. The design, slogan or phrase cannot be identical or significantly similar to an existing mark. A trademark litigation lawyer can research to ensure that a particular mark is not already taken before filing an application with the Patent and Trademark Office.
Generic terms and those that simple describe a product or service are often not eligible for trademark protection. Generic terms are not protected because the words are so often used in ordinary language. Similarly, descriptive terms can only be trademarked if they are used and advertised to the effect that consumers come to associate the terms with the brand, product or service.
A company or institution whose application to register a trademark is rejected has the right to appeal that decision. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is a three-judge panel that reviews decisions by USPTO examining attorneys. The board considers evidence and arguments from both sides during an appeal before deciding whether to uphold or overturn a decision denying registration for a particular mark.
Fighting Trademark Infringement
Trademark infringement is a substantial threat, even for companies and institutions that properly register their marks. It is essential that trademark holders — or their lawyers —regularly monitor for misuse of trademarks and take direct action to address infringement when it happens.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board plays an important role in combating infringement. Although the board does not handle infringement cases, it does hear cases in which one company or institution opposes another’s attempt to register a mark. A trademark holder that believes registering a similar mark will infringe on existing trademark rights or create confusion among consumers can oppose the registration on those grounds.
A trademark holder can also ask the board to cancel a registration that has already been approved. The holder can request cancellation by arguing that the mark may cause consumer confusion, that it should not have been registered in the first place, or that the mark is no longer being used, among other grounds.
Trademark Infringement Litigation
A trademark holder also has the right to sue companies and institutions for infringing on their intellectual property. To successfully prove trademark infringement, you have to show that the design, slogan or phrase that you are challenging raises a “likelihood” that consumers will be confused by the mark and associate it with your trademark.
Courts look at a number of factors to determine likelihood of confusion. That includes the strength of the mark, or how unique the design or phrase is, as well as the similarity between the two marks. Judges also consider whether each company or institution is using their mark to offer similar goods or services. The less similar the goods or services, the less likely the court is to find infringement. Any evidence of actual consumer confusion and intent to confuse is also take into account, among other factors.
Trademark holders can additionally sue for dilution in certain situations involving a “famous” mark. Rather than proving confusion, the holder of a famous mark can establish a claim for dilution by showing that a similar mark is weakening the brand because it is being used for a very different product or service.
Xerox is a common example of a famous mark because the name over time has become synonymous with the machines that the company sells. Judges weigh a variety of factors to determine whether a mark is famous, including its notoriety, advertising, publicity, use, age, registration and the geographic market in which the holder operates.
The legal remedies often available in trademark cases include a court order barring an infringer from continuing to use the offending mark, as well as money damages for related financial harm.
Speak With a Trademark Litigation Lawyer Today
If you are considering seeking trademark protection or want to protect your trademark from unapproved use, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced intellectual property lawyer. A seasoned attorney can help you weigh your rights and options in selecting a trademark, registering the mark and defending it through litigation and other means.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray, each trademark litigation lawyer has the resources and experience to handle a wide range of brand protection issues. We take pride in a personalized and proactive approach, taking the time to understand each client’s unique individual needs. Our firm also offers a number of legal fee arrangements to share the risk with our clients. That includes partial and full contingency arrangements in many cases. Call us or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.