When thinking about a “trademark”, it is often best to consider it as a “brand”. That is because a trademark refers to a sign that is used by sole traders, companies, partnerships, and those in business to set their goods and services apart from others. The purpose of a company’s brand is to identify the origins of the product or service and to show who is responsible for making a product or providing a service.
Over the years, individuals, companies and traders have sought to protect may items as trademarks, from words, letters and numbers to, sounds, colours and even smells.
The brand of a company is important. As the company becomes more valuable, or generates goodwill, it may become a target for copying by those who wish to commercially exploit its success.
A registered mark, however, gives the owner a statutory right to the exclusive use of the mark in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered. This means that a trader has the right to take action against anyone who uses an identical or similar mark or “sign” in court for trademark infringement. In such an action the claiming party will likely seek to demonstrate, at a basic level, that the infringer is using an identical or similar mark on goods or services which are also identical or similar and that they did so without the trademark owner’s permission.
Where a similar mark is used, in similar goods and services, the claimant will also need to demonstrate that the infringer has, in using such a mark, caused (or is likely to cause) confusion. It may also be that the trademark owner can authorise the use of the mark, which comes with its own commercial benefits. The claimant may also look to argue that the unauthorised use of a mark takes unfair advantage of its own.
It is always recommended that a mark is protected and to keep an eye, having done so, on any potential infringements.
Please contact our Dispute Resolution Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form for more information and a member of our Team will be very happy to assist.