Trademark Infringements - what you need to know
28 November 2016 by Michael Downing
What is Trademark Infringement?
Trademark infringement is the unauthorised use of a trademark or service mark on or in conjunction with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion or deception about the source of the goods and/or services.
What to do if you think you are infringing
One of the first things to do when dealing with the potential infringement of a trademark is to see whether the trademark has been registered.
If the trademark is registered this will confer various rights on the owner of the mark. Under the UK Trade Marks Act 1994, one of the rights conferred to the owner of a trademark is the right to prevent unauthorised use of that trade mark by third parties in respect ofthe goods or services for which it is registered.
If you use an identical or similar trade mark for identical or similar goods and services to a registered trade mark – you may be infringing the registered mark if your use creates a likelihood of confusion to the public.
Where the registered mark has a significant reputation, infringement may also arise from the use of the same or a similar mark in a way that may damage or take unfair advantage of the reputation of the registered mark. This can, on occasions, arise from the use of the same or similar mark for goods or services which are dissimilar to those covered by the registration of the registered mark.
If you think you might be infringing the most important thing to do is get professional advice. Intellectual Property companies like Downing IP can advise you on the best action to take and guide you through the process.
What to do if the trademark is unregistered?
There is no such thing (in the UK) as infringement of an unregistered mark (as such). Some trademarks may be protected under Common Law, though, which is known as passing-off. However, whether they are protected or not will depend on the particular circumstances. If you are unsure, please do get in touch.
Why work with a trademark specialist?
Here at Downing IP we work with our clients to support and guide them through the trademark application process ensuring the process is as smooth as possible and infringement is avoided at the earliest convenience.
The golden rule is to seek advice from an Intellectual Property (IP) trademark specialist before making your application so you can ensure you are protected.
If you think you might be affected by trademark infringement or would like to find out more about registering your trademark you can contact Downing IP on 01494 422626 or fill in our online contact form.