Understanding the Basics of Trademark Infringement

intellectual property


🎥 Trademark Cease & Desist: Lawyers Step-by-step Walk-through (REAL EXAMPLE!)

Understanding the Basics of Trademark Infringement

Today, we're diving into the exciting world of trademarks. Now, you might be thinking, "What in the world is a trademark?" Well, let's break it down.

We're going to use a few easy to remember and understand examples: shampoo, conditioner, chocolate, perfume, and dog food. I promise they will be fun and you'll be a trademark guru in no time!

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is like a special name-tag for businesses or products. Imagine you have created an incredible shampoo - it's incredible in the realm of shampoos and you've landed on the PERFECT name for this never-seen-before shampoo.

To make sure nobody else claims your great shampoo name, you put your brand name and maybe even your logo on the bottles. That's what a trademark is. It is your brand identifier that you want people to recognize as YOUR BRAND when they are making shopping decision. 

Oops! Stepping on Toes - Trademark Infringement

Sometimes, someone might use a trademark that's too similar to another one. That's called trademark infringement. It's as if someone else put your shampoo's name on their conditioner - that could be really confusing if someone went to the store to buy YOUR SHAMPOO but someone else was using the same name on their conditioner- how would they know to buy yours? Would they think that you also made the conditioner? 

If customers are confused when they are buying - then that is likely trademark infringement. 

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo: The Important Stuff

For something to be trademark infringement, it usually needs to confuse people. Like, if you saw the other conditioner with your shampoo's name, you'd be confused about which one is really yours, right? That's the basic idea.

I should point out that the name, the coloring, the logo, etc. could all be the same or similar - the standard is that if there is any likely of confusion in the marketplace when consumers are buying - then we have possible trademark infringement. 

But if you saw a bag of chocolates with the same name as your shampoo - you'd likely not be confused at all. Here's a great example: Dove shampoo and Dove chocolate. Both are legally registered trademarks to different businesses and are NOT committing trademark infringement. 

If I was shopping for Dove shampoo and saw a bag of Dove chocolates I'm not going to accidentally buy the chocolate thinking it was shampoo. 


Consequences: What If I Infringe a Trademark?

If you accidentally put someone else's shampoo name on your hair care products, you might have to change it, apologize, and pay some money. It's important to be careful and respect everyone's trademarks.

As an online business owner, if you commit trademark infringement you may have to: 

⚠️ Change your domain name

⚠️ Change all your graphics

⚠️ Re-record your course videos

⚠️ Re-do your website, landing pages, sales pages, thank you pages

Basically A LOT of work! Can you even imagine how much you'd have to do if someone sent you an email today (that was valid) and you had to rip out every single instance of where you used that name???

Problem-Solving: Resolving Trademark Disputes

If two hair care products (shampoo and conditioner) have the same name, there could be a disagreement. Usually, people try to solve it by talking first. If that doesn't work, sometimes they need to ask lawyers to step in and help decide if they can both keep using the name or if one has to stop. 

That's a quick trip through the world of trademarks! It's important to remember that every product deserves its own unique name. So, keep your trademarks special (and registered!), and respect those of others. 

When you need help in your business check out BIZLEBOX™. This is the result of over twenty years working in the realm of branding and legal. I LOVE this topic! And more than anything I like helping BEFORE you have an issue.