Trade mark infringement relates to the unauthorised use of a registered trade mark by a third party.
The law on trade mark infringement in the UK is set out by section 10 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (TMA). As set out by this section, a registered UK trade mark is infringed if one of the following apply:
– The mark used by the infringer is identical to the owners registered trade mark and is used in relation to goods and/or services that are identical to those published on the trade marks register.
– The mark used by the infringer is identical or similar to the owners registered trade mark and is used in relation to goods and/or services which are identical or similar to those published on the trade marks register.
– The mark used by the infringer is identical, similar or even dissimilar to the owners registered trade mark which has a reputation, and through its use, has caused detrimental damage to the trade mark.
In order to infringe a registered trade mark in respect of the grounds listed above, the alleged infringer must, in the course of trade:
- Use the infringed mark for any type of marketing, advertising or promotion.
- Affix the infringed mark to their goods and/or packaging.
- Import and/or export goods under the name and/or logo of the infringed mark.
- Offer a service of product for sale under the name and/or logo of the infringed mark.
Avoiding trade mark infringement
Infringing a registered trade mark could find you in a jam and as a result, affect your business ventures. This is because if you are caught infringing another individuals intellectual property rights, litigation, damages and legal fees could in some circumstances, prove to be quite costly.
In order to protect yourself from infringing, it is recommended that you always carry out a prior trade mark search. Conducting a prior search will give you indication as to whether there are any highly similar or identical marks already out there thus preventing you from treading on anyone’s toes. You can carry out a search independently or better yet, have the experts do for this for you.
If you discover that your trade mark is being infringed, it is your responsibility as the trade mark owner to take the required measures in order to protect your intellectual property. We always recommend however that you seek advice from the experts first. Here at Lawdit Solicitors, we deal with a range of intellectual property matters including trade mark infringement proceedings.
If you are concerned that your registered rights are being infringed or have any questions relating to this article, contact us today where we would be happy to assist you.