An established trademark is often one of the most valuable assets in a successful company. Trademarking ideas, names, symbols, logos, and other similar elements protects a crucial part of your business’s intellectual property.
Is it necessary to work with a trademark infringement attorney in Florida? Read on to find out.
What is Trademark Infringement in Florida? – The Basics
When someone uses a trademark or service mark associated with certain goods or services without the authorization of the legitimate owner, that person incurs trademark infringement.
To sue another party for trademark infringement, the person filing the lawsuit must demonstrate to the court that:
- The plaintiff is the legitimate owner of the mark
- The plaintiff’s rights have priority compared to the defendant’s rights, and
- The defendant’s use of the trademark results in a likelihood of confusion
The term “priority” refers to the amount of time the trademark has been in use. It is crucial to understand that trademark rights come from their use in business and not necessarily from registration.
The main purpose of any trademark or service mark is to distinguish the source of goods and services and differentiate brands from their competitors in the marketplace. If a mark can mistakenly lead consumers to confuse the source of goods or services offered under a brand, it results in the likelihood of confusion.
Should I Work with a Florida Attorney to Register My Trademark?
While it is possible to sue for infringement in situations involving unregistered trademarks, a registered trademark automatically grants the legitimate owner a superior level of protection.
Florida courts tend to have the presumption that registered trademarks are valid and the registered owner has the exclusive right to use the mark associated with specific products or services.
There are two options to register a trademark in Florida – state registration with the Florida Department of State or federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
If you want the quicker and less expensive option, you can register the trademark with the state. To enjoy nationwide protection and have priority over similar marks registered with the state only, you can register with the USPTO.
Why Should I Work with a Florida Trademark Infringement Attorney?
Whether you are enforcing a trademark or defending against infringement claims in court, you need a well-versed legal advisor with experience in handling real-world trademark infringement cases. To determine the existence of an infringement, Florida courts assess several elements that include:
- The strength of the plaintiff’s trademark
- The level of similarity between the marks
- Whether the goods or services of each party in the lawsuit are related
- Whether it is possible to assume that the defendant’s trademark confuses consumers about the source of goods or services to which the mark is applied
- The geographical area where both parties advertise their goods or services
- The advertisement methods used by both parties
- The actual occurrence of confusion caused by the defendant’s mark, and
- Whether the defendant used the mark in bad faith
As it is plain to see, you cannot simply work your way through a trademark infringement lawsuit alone and expect a successful outcome. The best approach is to consult with a trademark infringement attorney to identify the best strategy for your case.