If someone infringes a trademark in Florida, the legitimate owner of the mark has the right to sue the infringing party. Depending on the trademark registration status, it is possible to file a lawsuit in a state or federal court.
Read on to find out the three elements that determine trademark infringement in Florida.
What Are 3 Things That Determine Trademark Infringement in Florida? – In Detail
Whether a trademark is registered or not, the owner of a legitimate business mark can sue another person or entity for infringement. The main point is that an unregistered trademark has limited rights compared to a registered one.
When filing a lawsuit for trademark infringement in Florida, the plaintiff must prove:
- He or she is the legitimate owner of the infringed trademark
- The trademark’s priority, and
- The likelihood of confusion caused by the defendant’s mark
The first element is to demonstrate that the plaintiff actually owns the mark. Then, the court will assess the priority of the mark, which refers to how long the mark has been used in business.
While registration is important for trademarks, their ownership rights come from actual use in business. To win a lawsuit against the infringing party, the plaintiff’s trademark must be in use for a longer timeframe than the defendant’s mark.
The third element is the occurrence of “likelihood of confusion.” To demonstrate it, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s mark and the products or services on which they are used feature an overwhelming similarity.
This level of similarity would lead consumers to mistakenly believe that they come from the same source.
Challenging Trademark Infringement in Florida – Taking a Closer Look
Trademark lawsuits tend to be as complex as trademark laws. The guidance of an experienced trademark attorney is crucial to identify feasible legal grounds to sue the infringing party and precisely handle the case.
One of the most complicated factors in a trademark infringement lawsuit is demonstrating the existence of a likelihood of confusion. Depending on the plaintiff’s strategy in court, the defendant’s defense may find an alternative to show the infringement claim is not feasible.
Florida courts tend to consider several factors to identify the existence of a likelihood of confusion between distinct trademarks, including:
- The level of similarity between the plaintiff’s trademark and the defendant’s trademark
- How strong the plaintiff’s trademark is
- Whether the goods or services offered by both parties are related
- The existence of similarities between the sales methods used by both parties
- The existence of similarities between the advertising methods used by both parties
- The intent of the defendant
- Whether the infringement was unintentional or in bad faith
- The occurrence of actual confusion among consumers
One of the most common defenses to trademark infringement claims is the “Fair Use Doctrine.” In such cases, the defendant alleges that the plaintiff’s mark was not used as a trademark but solely as a descriptive term.
For example, Apple® is a registered trademark owned by a technology company. A company focused on producing and selling organic apples commercially could use the term to describe the fruit without infringing the famous trademark.
Challenging Trademark Infringement in Florida – Immediately Contact Jurado & Associates, P.A.
Work with a zealot trademark attorney from Jurado & Associates, P.A. to protect your interests in Florida. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.