Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a trademark without proper authorization. This can lead to confusion among consumers and harm the reputation of the original trademark owner.
Here are five common forms of trademark infringement that you should be aware of.
1. Direct infringement
Individuals or entities can register trademarks for their protection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Direct infringement happens when a person or entity uses a trademark that is identical or strikingly similar to an existing trademark.
2. Confusingly similar trademarks
This form of infringement occurs when a trademark is not exactly the same as an existing one, but is similar enough to potentially confuse consumers. For instance, if a company were to create a product with a name that closely resembles a popular brand, consumers may mistake it for the original.
Dilution happens when someone uses a trademark in a way that diminishes its distinctive quality or reputation. This can occur even if there is no direct competition between the two parties. For example, if a company were to use a well-known trademark to promote a completely unrelated product, it could dilute the original trademark’s value.
Counterfeiting involves the production and sale of fake goods that bear a trademark without the authorization of the trademark owner. This type of infringement not only harms the reputation of the original trademark, but it can also pose risks to consumer health and safety.
Cybersquatting involves registering, trafficking or using a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to an existing trademark. This can divert internet traffic away from the legitimate owner’s website, causing potential loss of business and reputation.
By being aware of these common types of infringement, you can take the necessary steps to prevent unauthorized use of their trademarks and safeguard their brand identity.