Trade Mark Infringement- Our Panel of Experts
What is a trade mark?
A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase used to distinguish a particular product or service from others in the marketplace. The primary purpose of a trademark is to serve as a distinctive identifier of the origin of services or goods for sale.
By registering a trademark with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the UK, the owner gains exclusive rights to use that mark in connection with the specified goods or services for which it is registered. Trademark registration provides legal protection under the Trade Marks Act 1994 against unauthorised use of similar or identical marks by others in the marketplace. The Act states infringement occurs when a sign is:
“(a)is identical with or similar to the trade mark
(b) where the trade mark has a reputation in the United Kingdom and the use of the sign, being without due cause, takes unfair advantage of, or is detrimental to, the distinctive character or the repute of the trade mark.”
The course of a trade mark registration in the UK is typically valid for a period of 10 years, with the possibility of renewal for successive periods. Having a registered trademark can help businesses build brand recognition, establish goodwill, and protect their intellectual property.
It’s essential to conduct a thorough search before applying for a trademark to ensure that the chosen mark is distinctive and does not conflict with existing trademarks. This helps prevent potential legal issues and ensures a smoother registration process.
Expert Commercial Law has access to a specialist panel of trade mark infringement solicitors who will be more than happy to assist you with your case. Please get in touch with us today for more information.
What is trade mark infringement?
Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a trademark in a way that violates the exclusive rights of the trademark owner. This unauthorised use can lead to confusion among consumers regarding the source of goods or services, potentially harming the reputation of the legitimate trademark owner. Trademark infringement can take various forms, including:
- Similar or Identical Marks: If another party uses a mark that is identical or similar to a registered trademark for similar goods or services, it may lead to confusion among consumers and would constitute infringing a mark.
- Likelihood of Confusion: This is a key element in trademark infringement cases. If the use of a similar mark is likely to confuse consumers about the origin of goods or services, it may be considered infringement.
- Dilution: Even if there is no likelihood of confusion, the use of a similar or identical mark for unrelated goods or services might be considered dilution if it diminishes the distinctiveness or reputation of the original trademark.
- Counterfeiting: Using an identical trademark for fake or counterfeit goods is a clear form of infringement.
- Passing Off: In some jurisdictions, including the UK, passing off is a legal concept related to unfair competition/unfair advantage. It involves the misrepresentation of goods or services in a way that is likely to cause confusion or deception.
Trademark owners have the right to take legal action against infringing parties to protect their intellectual property. Remedies for trademark infringement can include injunctive relief (to stop the infringing activity), damages, and, in some cases, the destruction of infringing goods.
Making a trade mark infringement claim
If you believe your trademark is being infringed upon, taking appropriate legal action is essential to protect your rights. Here are the general steps you might consider when making a trademark infringement claim:
- Gather Evidence: Collect evidence to support your claim. This may include instances of the infringing use, examples of confusion among consumers, and any communications or advertisements related to the infringing activity.
- Consult with a Solicitor: It’s advisable to consult with an intellectual property solicitor experienced in trademark law. They can provide legal advice tailored to your specific situation and help you understand the strength of your case.
- Cease and Desist Letter: Your solicitor may send a cease and desist letter to the alleged infringer. This letter typically outlines your rights, details the alleged infringement, and demands that the infringing party stop using the trademark in question.
- Negotiation or Settlement: In some cases, negotiations between the parties may lead to a settlement outside of court. This could involve the infringing party agreeing to cease the use of the trademark and possibly paying damages.
- Legal Action: If a resolution is not reached through negotiation or if the infringing party refuses to comply, you may need to initiate legal proceedings.
- Court Proceedings: During trademark infringement proceedings, both parties present their cases, and the court will make a determination based on the evidence and applicable law. The court may also make an enquiry into damages or an account of profits.
- Enforcement of Judgment: If the court rules in your favour, you may need to take steps to enforce the judgment, such as collecting damages awarded or ensuring compliance with any court orders.
Why choose Expert Commercial Law?
Whether you need advice on how to bring a claim regarding a trade mark infringement or advice on a defence to a trademark infringement, our panel of experts can assist both claimants and defendants.
All of the law firms and specialist trade mark infringement lawyers on our panel have the experience and expertise required to take on your case. Each solicitor is vetted before being allowed onto our panel, and we only select the best in the business. All of our solicitor firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Alongside the trade mark infringement services our solicitors can offer, they can also help with commercial claims, such as breach of contract, partnership disputes, fraud claims, restrictive covenants and CCJ removal.
Please note we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to an injunction query or a commercial law case, we will pass your case on to a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing your case to a panel firm.
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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm.