In a highly competitive marketplace, branding is key to the value of a product. If your company has an established trademark that represents and distinguishes your business or its products, it's important to guard that intellectual property zealously. At Michael Coblenz, Attorney at Law, I represent plaintiff companies throughout Kentucky in trademark infringement disputes. I have a thorough understanding of Kentucky and federal law, and I know how to protect your rights while building compelling cases. If you are engaged in a disagreement over a registered or unregistered trademark, I will pursue optimal results.
KNOWLEDGEABLE KENTUCKY COUNSELOR ADVISES BUSINESS OWNERS ON TRADEMARK LAWTo qualify for legal protection, a trademark must be used in commerce and must be distinctive. There are four categories of distinctiveness:
- Arbitrary/fanciful - These marks bear no logical relationship to the underlying product but are inherently distinctive and, through their use in commerce, become indelibly associated with a particular company.
- Suggestive - These marks evoke or suggest a characteristic of the underlying product. As with arbitrary/fanciful marks, exclusive rights go to the first company to use them in commerce.
- Descriptive - These marks overtly describe a characteristic or quality of the product. To qualify for protection, the mark must acquire a secondary meaning through its use in commerce. The buying public must primarily associate the mark with a particular company rather than a class of products.
- Generic - Because generic marks refer to a general class of products, rather than those coming from a unique source, the law does not protect them. A mark can be judged generic when first proposed or may become generic over time and lose its legal protection.
A trademark need not be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have protection, but registered marks do offer advantages. Registration serves as constructive notice of ownership nationwide, and the ownership may be incontestable after five years of continuous use.
At Michael Coblenz Attorney at Law, I will examine the details of your case and advise you on the strength of your trademark infringement claim.
Trademark infringement occurs when a company uses a mark that is similar enough to a protected trademark that the new mark is likely to cause confusion among the consuming public. In a successful trademark infringement lawsuit, the plaintiff company could receive remedies such as:
- Defendant's profits - If the established brand does not show losses, it may still have been damaged by sales that went to the infringing brand.
- Damages sustained by the plaintiff - The court could order the infringing company to compensate for the plaintiff's lost sales.
- Costs of the action - The defendant must pay for the plaintiff's attorney fees and court costs.
- Injunctive relief - The court will order the infringing company to discontinue use of the offending trademark.
To protect your business and its brand, contact an experienced intellectual property attorney if your trademark has been infringed.
Michael Coblenz, Attorney at Law provides quality legal representation to plaintiff companies in trademark disputes. To schedule a consultation, call my Lexington, KY office at 859-321-6206 or contact me online.