It is a competitive market out there, which is why companies use a lot of resources to differentiate their product from others and to gain credibility. Therefore, it is frustrating if another company, either intentionally or negligently, begins to sell a product that is similar and creates consumer confusion. One of the benefits for New York companies with registered trademarks is that they can pursue legal action against those who may be using a similar mark.
Elements of trademark infringement
To demonstrate trademark infringement, it must first be shown that there is a valid mark that needs to be protected. Secondly, the defendant used either the same or a similar mark for selling or advertising marks without the plaintiff’s mark. Lastly, it should be shown that using the mark confuses consumers about the origin or approval of the goods and that consumers would associate the defendant with the plaintiff.
“Likelihood of confusion”
Trademark infringement cases revolve around the likelihood of confusion. This means that consumers look at the infringing mark and assume that the product it represents is one identified with the original mark. If the accused product is in the same market, then courts look at the two mark to determine if they are sufficiently similar enough to cause confusion. If the products in question are in different markets and there is no relation between their use, then courts will most likely find that consumers will not be confused.
Matters are rarely this simple though- it is possible that the relevant goods are related but not in the same market exactly. As the trademark infringement becomes more complicated, it can become economically challenging for companies. It might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney to discuss one’s options in such situations.