When discussing trademark law, unfair competition and infringement are some of the most commonly used terms. Unfair competition is dishonest or fraudulent rivalry in trade and commerce. It refers more specifically to the practice of trying to pass off one’s goods, products, or services as that of another. Often people will try to achieve this by imitating or copying the name, logo, or other distinctive characteristics of a competing brand.
Infringement is a form of unfair competition and one of the most common issues regarding trademarks. Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark in connection with goods or services in a fashion that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or error about the source of the goods or services. Infringement can be done purposefully or accidentally. It is advised that anyone using a trademark register the mark with the USPTO. If the USPTO issues registration of your trademark, you will receive the right to prevent infringement of your mark on a nationwide basis, along with some other benefits.
To win an infringement case in court, the plaintiff must prove that it owns a valid mark, that its rights to the mark are senior to the defendant’s, and that the defendant’s use of the mark likely will or has caused confusion among consumers. If you believe someone is infringing on your trademark, it is important to hire a trademark attorney, like Fortman Law, to protect your trademark. Do not sleep on your rights as you may waive them. Even if your trademark is not federally registered, you might have a case in state common law. When a trademark is registered with the USPTO, there is a legal presumption of validity and ownership of a trademark as well as the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide on or in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration. However, these presumptions may be rebutted in court proceedings. You should contact an attorney to review your options as soon as possible.
If you need legal advice or assistance regarding trademark infringement or unfair competition, contact Fortman Law. We can help perform your federal trademark search, prepare your trademark application, guide you through the trademark registration process, respond to a USPTO office action, represent you in trademark opposition and cancellation proceedings, and pursue litigation against those infringing on your trademark. We are located in Florissant, Missouri but practice trademark law nationally. If you need any legal assistance with trademark infringement or unfair competition, please contact us for a free consultation.