What happens if I use the trademark without permission?
A trademark is any word, phrase, logo, or combination that distinguishes the source of one product or service on the market from the source of another product or service. Trademarks used by companies Its products or services can be identified every day, but not all trademarks are protected by law in the same way. In order to benefit from enhanced legal protection, trademarks should be “registered” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Doing so helps prevent unauthorized use of the trademark.
Registration requires submitting an application to the USPTO, paying an appropriate application fee, and passing the trademark review by the USPTO examiner. After completing this process, the USPTO will issue a trademark registration certificate, giving the trademark owner more legal rights. Use of a registered trademark without the owner’s permission may lead to trademark infringement lawsuits.However, trademark registration does not always protect All Use of trademarks. In some cases, registered trademarks can even be used without permission.
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What is trademark infringement?
When someone uses a trademark infringement, trademark infringement occurs. Trademark Without permission and in some way make consumers confused about the source of the product or service. It is important that the use of the trademark “may” cause confusion for actual or potential users or customers. Although this definition seems simple, it may be difficult to fully grasp because of the many exceptions to this general rule.
The most obvious example of trademark infringement is when you own a design logo for your business. Suppose your company is a store specializing in comfortable walking shoes. You have registered this logo as a trademark in the USPTO. Then another company in your community started using the same logo to promote comfortable travel shoes that are similar to the shoes you sell. In this case, it is easy to see that another company uses your logo to confuse actual or potential customers. In this case, you as the trademark holder can sue another trademark infringement case because the way they use your registered trademark without permission may cause consumers to confuse the source of the goods or services, namely shoes.
Trademark infringement requires trademark users to use the trademark to sell goods and services. This requirement leads to some important exceptions to the rights of registered owners. You may think that a trademark infringement has occurred, but if any of the following exceptions are met, the trademark infringement will not occur.
1. Informational or descriptive fair use
If you use another person’s trademark for reference purposes, you can use another person’s trademark without permission. This exception applies if you are in the following situations:
- give an opinion
- Leave a comment
- Create a reference work
- Introduce the brand or brand choice of a particular product to others
- Describe users’ own products
The reason for this exception is largely due to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Your right to freedom of speech allows you to express opinions and provide information to others, even if the speech uses another person’s registered trademark.
Descriptive fair use allows the use of brand names only in a descriptive sense. The key is that the use must not be based on trademarks and must be done in good faith. For example, an advertiser can claim that the drink is sweet and sour without violating the trademark SWEET TART.
2. Nominal fair use
You can also use a registered trademark to specifically refer to that trademark or to refer to products or services sold under that brand. For example, a car repair shop can claim that it repaired Toyota or Audi cars without infringing on the trademarks of these companies.
Again, part of the reason behind this exception is your right to freedom of speech, but it is usually more direct than this. In one example, authorized Lexus dealers use “Lexus” as part of their domain name (buyorleaselexus.com). Lexus sues Trademark infringement, but the court ruled that the nominal reason for fair use can be controlled. Although they were not trying to become Lexus, they did sell Lexus cars.
News reports or imitations are other examples of fair use in name, in which case trademark infringement is unlikely to be found. In this way of use, the argument is that you are not harming or trying to profit from the brand, and there is no confusion with actual or potential customers, because it is clear that the trademark is cited to make it newsworthy or ironic.
3. Does not actually use the trademark as a trademark
There is one legal exception to trademark infringement, which includes the fact that you did not use the trademark as a trademark. Opinions and references apply to this exception, but please consider another example.
In some cases, the use of Disney or Warner Bros. roles may constitute trademark infringement. This may be the case if the goods or services you provide are similar or related to those of Disney, the trademark owner. However, due to the way it is used, the use of characters on T-shirts may not constitute trademark infringement. A common defense of trademark infringement claims is that the trademark is not used for commercial purposes or for the sale of goods or services.
For example, if you run a website that emphasizes Disney’s business practices and mentions specific characters, and your website does not try to sell anything, the product may be protected by the First Amendment (or fair use in name). Subject to any trademark infringement claims. For example, when a character appears on a T-shirt, that person will not try to advertise or “become” a Bugs Bunny. Instead, they are just showing that they like Bugs Bunny.
However, keep in mind that many cartoon characters may also be protected by registered copyrights, so it may not be a good idea to start making hundreds of T-shirts with Bugs Bunny on them. Likewise, the key consideration is whether you are trying to obtain commercial benefit from the association or potential confusion with another trademark.You may also want to consider obtaining Trademark license Rather than simply using names, pictures or logos that may be protected by trademark law or copyright law.
Can I go to jail for trademark infringement?
will not. Trademark infringement is prosecuted under civil law and is not a crime.
Conversely, lawsuits for trademark infringement usually require you to stop using the trademark, and you may have to refund any profits from the infringing use or pay monetary compensation for the use of the trademark. In some cases, if the trademark is deliberately used to sell counterfeit products or services, the damages may be tripled.
Can I use a trademark without ®? TM value sign?
The ™ symbol is used for unregistered or common law trademarks, while ® is for registered trademarks.Sometimes companies will use ™ If they are registering their trademark.
The ™ symbol has no legal meaning, so you never need to use it. The usage of the ® symbol is not simple. This symbol makes others notice that the trademark is a registered trademark of the user, presumably a trademark owned by the user, or is being used under one of the trademark infringement exceptions mentioned above.
How long can the trademark last?
Unlike copyright, trademarks can be used with the sale of goods or services and can exist forever. However, in the fifth and sixth years of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the ninth and tenth years, and every ten years thereafter, applications for renewal must still be made.
The law becomes simple
Trademark law is complicated. To understand how these laws apply to your specific business or situation, it usually requires the expertise of a trademark attorney who understands you and your business goals. Lucky for you, Rocket Lawyer on call® Trademark Attorney Can be used for affordable consultation. If you wish to register your own trademark, Rocket Lawyer Trademark Expert We are ready to help you complete the entire process from trademark search to application submission at a reasonable price.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm, nor is it a substitute for a lawyer or a law firm. The law is complex and changes frequently.Seek legal advice Ask a lawyer.