How is trademark infringement identified?

Glenn W. Peterson

If you want to name your business or a certain product or service you offer something special, you will want to pay attention to any trademarks that may exist for the terms you are considering. If you end up using a term that is legally trademarked by someone else, you may be at risk for that company to ask you to stop using the name or mark. Understanding what may give credence to such a request will be important for you to know.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the sheer fact that you have used a name or mark is not the only thing that will be evaluated in a potential trademark infringement case. A key part of determining whether or not there is an infringement is any confusion that has been caused or may be caused to the consumer by the use. This may be evaluated based in part on how similar the names or marks are and how similar or not the two types of products, services or industries are and how and where items are sold.

Even if confusion is not a concern, a trademark holder may pursue legal action if they are concerned that their name or mark might be associated with something unsavory to their business.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to provide California business owners, managers or executives with background information on how a potential trademark infringement may be reviewed or determined.