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Something about Trademark Law

One can think of a trademark as most anything which identifies a product in the mind of the public. A trademark or “mark” can be a fanciful name, a logo, a slogan or a combination of such things. The issue in a trademark infringement case is whether a junior mark has such similarity to that of the original owner’s as to allow the junior user to borrow from or capture the good name and reputation of the original holder of the mark. Proving trademark infringement requires proof of who actually owns the mark in question. This is one of the purposes of registering one’s mark with the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) as registration establishes a presumption of ownership. It is not actual proof of ownership because, after all, presumptions can be rebutted. The real test of ownership is determined by which party first used the mark in commerce.

The second thing that must be shown in an infringement case is that the junior user infringed on the rights of the owner by creating the likelihood of confusion between the two marks. Circumstances which tend to demonstrate such a likelihood include the similarity of the conflicting marks, the relatedness or proximity of the product lines, the degree of care exercised by purchasers in selecting goods and the junior user’s intent in selecting its mark. When trademark infringement has been proven, the court can address the issue with a range of remedies inclusive of monetary damages and injunctive relief.