Coming up with an idea can be the pathway to a lucrative career. With the number of people in New York who set out to start a business, market it and sell merchandise linked to it, it is inevitable that there will be accusations of trademark misappropriation, copyright infringement, and other aspects of complex law that must be navigated. It is important to remember the various issues that go along with a trademark and act accordingly when there is an accusation that the idea has been used illegally or there is the belief that another entity is using the trademark illegally.
A brand located in South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against a T-shirt company based in New York alleging copyright infringement. The company in Hilton Head, Salty Dog, has five restaurants as well as three clothing shops. It asserts that the New York based company is selling clothing with the same name that is based on a firefighter theme. The New York company’s website says that it has been operating for two years. Started by two firefighters in New York, the company states that the term was used to describe longtime firefighters.
For its part, the owner of the company in South Carolina says that it has the exclusive rights to use the phrase on its merchandise and has registered the trademark. The concern is that there will be confusion regarding the brands and could cause damage to the original company. The South Carolina company wants more than $75,000 in damages and that the New York company stop using the name. A similar lawsuit against a Virginia company that was also using the name was settled out of court in 2010.
The difficult world of starting a business and selling products often lends itself to overlapping. It can be inadvertent or intentional; the products can be similar or emanate from a totally different type of business. Regardless of what position a person is in – the accused or the accuser – when it comes to copyright infringement, having a firm grasp of how the law views these issues in an attempt to settle the matter or go to court is imperative. For that, a legal professional with extensive experience in the business world, copyrights and trademarks is of enormous value. That is the first call that a person involved in this type of situation should make.
Source: islandpacket.com, “Did a NY company rip off Hilton Head’s Salty Dog brand? A new lawsuit claims so.,” Erin Heffernan, Sept. 9, 2016