What Is Trademark Infringement?

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The best way to explain trademark infringement is by way of example. Suppose that a person has a company that has been making V8 vegetable juice for many years and has spent millions of dollars on branding the company. As a result, that person would have gained a certain amount of goodwill, which is something that is intangible and that drives future sales. Suppose that another person has a company that also makes vegetable juice, but does not spend any money on branding and is, therefore, less familiar to consumers. Trademark infringement would end up occurring if that person named their vegetable juice “B8” instead of V8. This is problematic because many consumers would think that B8 juice is in fact V8 juice. As a result, B8 would have gained a sale by using deception. In addition, the reputation of V8 could be diminished if the consumers who think they purchased V8 thought it did not taste as good and that the quality had decreased. Trademark infringement occurs when a company creates confusion between their product and another company’s product, and a trademark is just a symbol of the company’s goodwill.

What Is Trademark Dilution?

Trademark dilution occurs when people use a trademark in a variety of other businesses, thereby causing confusion for the consumer and diluting the value of that trademark.

Would Trademark Infringement Occur If Someone Else Uses My Company’s Name For A Different Business?

Trademark infringement could occur if someone were to use a company’s name for a different business. Trademark issues arise when consumers believe that there is an affiliation between two companies. For example, there is a company called Caterpillar that makes heavy equipment, and there is a company by the same name that makes butter. The court determined that no infringement was occurring due to the fact that one company makes heavy equipment and the other makes butter, making it less likely to create confusion. On the other hand, there was a case in which a company had a trademark called “Tornado,” and the other company had a trademark called “Cyclone.” Since the two companies were in related businesses, it was determined to be infringement due to the fact that consumers could reasonably believe that the companies were affiliated.

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