When you trademark a name, phrase, symbol, design or any combination thereof in California, you maintain the right to use the identifier to distinguish yourself or your business from its competitors. A trademark gives you legal protection if someone does try to use the same identifier. It also helps you protect the trademarked material against possible counterfeiting or fraud.
Per the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, trademark infringement occurs when someone uses your trademarked material without your authorization in connection with the goods or services you provide – and in a manner that may cause confusion. If you sue someone for trademark infringement and win, potential remedies are as follows.
There are several types of court orders that may come into play in a trademark infringement case. A judge may issue an injunction preventing the defendant from using the trademarked material moving forward. Conversely, a judge may issue an order that requires the defendant to destroy or forfeit the material he or she used without proper authorization. In some cases, a judge may also order the defendant to pay your legal fees after a trademark infringement case.
While a defendant who loses a trademark infringement case may have to pay the plaintiff’s legal expenses, he or she may also turn profits over to the plaintiff or cover any damages the plaintiff experienced as a result of the unauthorized use.
Ultimately, the strength of your trademark infringement case depends on three key variables. A successful case depends on your ability to prove that you owned a valid trademark, that you have priority over the trademark and that the defendant’s use of the trademark would likely cause confusion among consumers.