It is not uncanny to see companies unintentionally infringing a third party’s trademark. Sometimes, when someone receives a letter alleging trademark infringement, the person might not even know the reason behind the claims.
The situation can be even worse when the slogan, business name, or design is not even similar to the allegedly infringed trademark. Yet, what is the recommendable procedure in such situations?
In this article, you will discover the available remedies for unintentional trademark infringement in Florida.
Unintentional Trademark Infringement in Florida – Understanding the Concept
As its name suggests, unintentional trademark infringement refers to the unintended use of a third party’s trademark without authorization. Usually, trademark infringement involves competing or related goods, such as two different brands competing in the same market segment.
In Florida, a court will assess a set of factors when judging a case of unintentional trademark infringement. Generally, the main factor to determine trademark infringement is the likelihood of confusion.
As provided by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the likelihood of confusion “exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source.”
Still, unintentional trademark infringement is not always about matching marks. More often than not, the unintentionally infringed mark is not the same as the defendant’s mark. However, even if a mark is only similar, the infringed party may have the right to file a lawsuit anyway.
Unintentional Trademark Infringement in Florida – Possible Outcomes in Court
If the court rules in favor of the infringed party, there are several judicial remedies available. Typically, the remedies vary depending upon the infringing party’s intentions. Hence, if a company incurred an unintended violation of trademark law, it would suffer significantly less exposure than a trademark counterfeiter.
Remedies for intended intentional trademark infringement include the payment of lost profits, attorneys’ fees, treble damages, and other similar monetary compensations.
However, it is crucial to observe that recent Supreme Court decisions demonstrate that the lack of intention to infringe a trademark may not be sufficient to avoid a higher level of accountability.
In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc. (Docket No. 18-1233), the Supreme Court decided that a trademark owner may be entitled to “lost profits” without proving that the trademark infringement was intended.
The case was resolved in mid-2020, generating some controversy around the subject and raising awareness that alleging a case of trademark infringement was inadvertent or unplanned may not be a sufficient argument in court.
How to Respond to Unintentional Trademark Infringement – Do I Need to Call An Attorney First?
Typically, before filing a lawsuit, the injured party will let the infringing party know about the trademark infringement claim(s). In such situations, many entrepreneurs might be surprised by a phone call, email, or letter exposing the reasons behind the claim.
Yet, many individuals do not know whether it is better to respond to the other party’s first contact or sit down with an expert attorney before proceeding with a proper defense. Generally, the latter is the ideal option, considering some entrepreneurs could dig themselves a deeper hole in the situation.
Defend Against Unintentional Trademark Infringement in Florida – Work with Jurado and Farshchian, P.L.
Defending against trademark infringement requires a precise strategy, especially if it was unintended or unplanned. Waste no time with uncertainty. Get in touch with Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling at (305) 921-0440 or emailing Romy@jflawfirm.com so we can get to work immediately.