What is Brand Infringement?
If someone uses a trademark, brand ‘get-up’, name or logo that is identical, or very similar, to the trademark or product ‘get-up’ of another business, and for the same goods or services, that party may be guilty of trade mark or brand infringement.
This can be the case even where the trademark or brand is not even registered as a registered trademark, although to minimise the risk of brand infringement it is crucial that all brands should be protected by trademark registration wherever possible.
Where there is not direct brand infringement in the sense of an infringement of a registered trade mark, the crucial question is often whether the offending brand creates a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public. This is often not easily decided. Supermarkets are notorious for bringing out their own brands that mimic exsting well-known brands in an effort to win market-share from their own suppliers and they often go right to the edge of what might otherwise be held to be brand infringement. Sainsbury’s did this with their own brand of ‘Pimms’ that they called ‘Pitchers’ – do you think that this is a case of brand infringement?
Brand infringement can occur when brands are arguably so similar that members of the public could be misled to believe that goods or services from one party could originate from another party. If the registered brand has a well-known reputation, use of an identical or similar mark, which damages or takes unfair advantage of, such a reputation could also give rise to brand infringement. It follows that brand infringement can occur where one party uses a trademark that is merely similar to a registered trademark rather than identical.
If you think that your use of a brand may be infringing a trademark or indeed if you have received contact from a third party alleging brand infringement , please contact us without delay, as there are a number tactics or defences that may well be open to you.
Trade mark and brand infringement is a complex area of law and one of our experts will be pleased to offer you guidance and advice on protecting your brand, whether that be by negotiating co-existence with the other party or pursuing the infringing party for damages.
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