Intellectual property is similar to industrial patents: its intent is to protect the inventor from copycat work and stolen credit. It also provides an economical protection, which forces a person to compensate an individual who has trademarked or copyrighted their work. Essentially, copyrights and trademarks are there to protect from illegal use.
What is the difference between a trademark and a copyright?
In essence, trademarks and copyrights are both meant to do the same thing: protect a creator’s intellectual work from illegal use. However, there is a major difference between the two. Trademarks help define and protect a company brand, word, design, or phrase whereas copyrights protect artistic works and creative ventures, such as media, artistic, or literary works. In terms of a book being published, the trademark can protect a series logo as well as the name, and copyrighting can protect the book and writing itself.
What is Trademark Infringement?
If a trademark holder or company feels as if their trademark or copyright has been infringed upon, they have the right to file a lawsuit if there is a possibility to prove that the plaintiff set out to confuse or manipulate, or tried to relate their product to another’s trademark. Some things to look out for:
- Comparison in relation. This factor looks to see if both the products are related to one another, or are similar to the trademarked product.
- Avenue of trade, consumer, and cost: This idea is to help see how the customer will be purchasing the product and how susceptible he or she will be to buying the wrong item, i.e. is it something a customer would be able to know and distinguish as an impulse purchase?
- Actual and literal confusion: Has there been any cases of confused identity already between the two products? Has a fair amount of consumers either purchased the wrong product or tried to return it to the wrong company?
What to Do If a Trademark Has Been Violated?
In the case of trademark infringement, the trademark owner may file a lawsuit in either federal or state court, depending on the circumstances. If an owner is able to prove before the courts that another entity has violated the infringement, there are a few legal remedies that the successful plaintiff can take. These may include:
- Court-ordered cease and desist or injunction, which forces the defender to stop using the trademarked likeness.
- In order to stop production, as well as destroy or lose custody of any or all of the Welding products.
- Monetary compensation, which forces the defendant to pay for any of their profits, any damages by the plaintiff, and possibly the attorney’s fees, depending on the case.If the defendant is found not guilty, then he or she will not have to do anything.
If you feel like a company or individual has infringed on your trademark laws, or would like to submit your own requests for your work, speak with a qualified trademark attorney in Chicago, IL for further questions and discussion.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC for their insight into patent law and trademarks vs. copyright.