A trademark is used to prevent consumer confusion in the marketplace with respect to who provides certain goods or services. A trademark can protect symbols, logos, phrases, designs, or marks that identify and distinguish a provider of goods or services. The more unique a company’s name, the better protection is likely to be given.
Protection Against Consumer Confusion
If you own a trademark, you can stop another entity from using a similar trademark as long as that person is using it in a way that would cause consumer confusion about who is providing the goods or services. Without confusion, there is no way to prevent another company from using a similar trademark. The case involving Jordache and Lardashe is one of the most famous examples. If are old enough to recall, Jordache was (is?) a famous jeans brand. A couple of enterprising women came up with their own jeans brand, Lardashe. Jordache’s lawsuit was eventually tossed because Lardashe’s use of the trademark was not likely to cause to cause consumer confusion about who made the jeans. In fact, it was a parody of Jordache’s jeans.
There is protection on both a State and Federal level. On the Federal level, registration is required. Federal protection is for the entire US, while state protection extends to a statewide basis.
To get Federal protection, the following requirements must be met:
- the subject matter be eligible for trademark protection;
- the trademark has to be distinctive; and
- the trademark must not be likely to cause confusion (this is crucial).
Are you too successful for you own good?