New Jersey companies and businesses throughout the country build themselves by creating a brand identity. Part of a brand’s identity is its name, and that name can be protected by a trademark. It is possible that another company will try to infringe on the trademark either inadvertently or intentionally. Prior to taking any action to protect a trademark, it is important to know that it has actually been infringed upon.
Trademark infringement does not occur simply because someone else uses a word or phrase that sounds similar to what was trademarked. This only applies if the name could cause confusion among customers. In some cases, fair or nominative use of a trademark or portion of a trademark is allowed and not considered to be infringement. One way to handle a situation in which infringement has occurred is to inquire about a partnership.
Instead of spending time and money in court, it may be possible to grant that party a license to use the trademark in an appropriate manner. It may also be possible to get the infringing behavior to stop simply by sending a letter to that party. Be sure to document any communications that occur in the event that it becomes necessary to escalate the situation. In addition, document the offending act so that the other party knows what to avoid.
If a company believes that trademark infringement has occurred, it may be worth talking with an attorney. While it may not be necessary to go to court to resolve the issue, a company may benefit from knowing its rights in such a situation. In some cases, an attorney may work as a mediator to help a company and potentially infringing party work out a licensing deal or another amicable resolution.