A trademark is a visual representation of a business or brand. It might be a logo, a slogan or a design created for the purpose of enhancing brand awareness. The process of registering a trademark includes research to ensure that the trademark is unique enough to stand on its own without infringing on another business’s registered trademarks.
Businesses with registered trademarks can use their trademark on packaging and on advertisements to help build a recognizable brand. Unfortunately, even businesses that take their branding and advertising very seriously sometimes run into challenges caused by other companies, like trademark infringement.
Another business, possibly trying to cut into an organization’s market share, may imitate its packaging or even create a knock-off trademark so that consumers buy the competitor’s products. Is it possible to take action against a business attempting to imitate a company’s products and confuse consumers?
Mimicking a trademark could lead to enforcement efforts
Registering a trademark means that there is protection for the company that invested in the design. If another company attempts to use a logo with trademark protection or creates a very similar logo, the original business may be able to ask the courts to intervene, possibly by preventing the ongoing use of an infringing logo or by awarding damages to the business targeted by the infringing party.
The bigger the impact of the knockoff products or duplicate logo on a company’s reputation and sales, the greater the chances that they can convince a judge that awarding them damages would be an appropriate response. Given that every product or service provided by a company imitating another organization could lead to lost sales and could also damage the public perception of the original organization, trademark enforcement actions are typically important to protect a company’s future.
Successfully convincing the courts that there is a reasonable likelihood of confusion often requires the support of a lawyer familiar with intellectual property cases and trademark law. Even businesses that have an attorney on retainer may need outside support for a trademark case, and acknowledging that could make all the difference. Taking action when another company undermines an organization’s branding through infringement is often the most effective means of protecting against the misconduct of competitors.