Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a registered trademark without permission, leading to confusion among consumers. If you suspect that your trademark is being infringed upon, it is in your best interest to take swift action to protect your brand.
In October 2023, California-headquartered grocery store chain Trader Joe’s filed a trademark infringement claim against a similarly named cryptocurrency exchange. Cases like these are enough to make a business owner wonder – what does it actually take to prove someone is infringing on your trademark?
Document the original trademark
Begin by gathering evidence of your original trademark. This includes a copy of the trademark registration certificate, along with any additional materials that showcase the distinctiveness of your brand.
Conduct a thorough comparison between your registered trademark and the potentially infringing one. Identify similarities in terms of design, wording or overall impression. As an example, in the Trader Joe’s trademark infringement suit, the grocery store chain alleged that the cryptocurrency exchange was infringing not only on the “Trader Joe” name but also on the company’s brand story.
A key element in trademark infringement cases is the likelihood of confusion among consumers. Show how the infringing use can lead to confusion about the source of the goods or services. Collect instances of actual confusion if available, such as customer complaints or reviews.
Monitor the infringing activity
Keep a record of instances where the infringing trademark is being used. This could involve screenshots of websites, social media posts or any other platform where the infringement is taking place. Be diligent in documenting ongoing activities.
Building a strong case for trademark infringement requires a vigilant approach. Taking proactive measures to protect your brand will help ensure its continued success and reputation in the marketplace.