A trademark is one of the most valuable intangible assets a company may have. In a competitive business environment like Florida, protecting a trademark may be the difference between a thriving company or a failed endeavor.
The legitimate owner of a trademark has several options to stop others from using their mark or even using a confusingly similar one for business purposes.
In this article, you will find out how to proceed if someone violates a business trademark in Florida.
What is a Trademark? – A Short Explanation
As provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark can be defined as “a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.”
In essence, a trademark is how customers recognize and distinguish the products of one company from another. Although registering a trademark is the best approach, trademark rights come from its actual use in business.
Ultimately, as long as a company continues to actively use a trademark in business, its ownership rights over it may last forever.
In Florida, trademark owners can register their marks at the state or federal level. While it is not mandatory, doing so grants several benefits – including further legal ground when enforcing trademark rights against an infringer in court.
What Do You Do If Someone Violates Your Trademark in Florida? – Submitting a Cease-and-Desist Letter
Typically, filing a lawsuit in court is not the first step after finding someone unauthorizedly using a trademark. Instead, a more efficient way of refraining a third party from infringing intellectual property may be sending a cease-and-desist letter.
As its name suggests, a cease-and-desist letter is a letter demanding someone to stop infringing intellectual property. Addressed directly to the trademark infringer, the language used in the letter must be succinct and clear.
In many cases, the infringer did not know that the trademark was already in use, stopping the infringement upon receiving the letter. However, there are cases in which an infringer did know about the trademark, but still incurring the infringement on purpose.
In case the infringer decides to ignore the letter, this fact may be used as evidence in a lawsuit. Ideally, a cease-and-desist letter should be written by an experienced trademark attorney in Florida.
An expert attorney will make sure to use the proper language to convince the other party to cease the infringement, explicitly stating that a subsequent infringement will terminate in a lawsuit.
What Do You Do If Someone Violates Your Trademark in Florida? – Filing a Lawsuit in Court
When the infringer decides to purposefully ignore a cease-and-desist letter and continue to infringe a trademark, there is little choice but to proceed with a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Before filing a lawsuit in court, it is crucial to sit down with an expert trademark attorney to assess the available options and tailor a successful strategy. Considering the ultimate purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers, the court will begin by determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion.
This way, the court will compare both trademarks (the plaintiff’s mark and the defendant’s mark) to assess if an average consumer could be confused as to the origin or source of the product.
The court will assess whether the defendant is using the trademark on a competing good or service in the same business segment (e.g., two brands of cookies with similar brand names, logos, and packages).
Also, the court will assess if the defendant is using the trademark in the same geographic region or if consumers would likely be confused by the dual trademark use.
Enforce Your Trademark Rights in Florida – Work with Attorney Romy B. Jurado Today
One of the hardest parts of a trademark infringement lawsuit is reuniting evidence and proving the existence of a “likelihood of confusion,” which explains why it is crucial to work with a Florida trademark attorney throughout the process.