Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a trademark that is likely to cause consumer confusion about the source, affiliation, or sponsorship of goods or services.
A competitor, using a “confusingly similar mark” with similar or related goods may cause consumers
to buy their goods or services when they actually meant to buy from the trademark owner.
Trademark registration provides for exclusive use of the trademark nationwide in connection with the goods or services indicated. Anyone infringing a registered trademark can be legally stopped and can be liable to the trademark owner for money damages.
Likelihood of Confusion
“Likelihood of Confusion” is a legal test that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may use to refuse registration of a trademark or service mark because it is likely to conflict with a mark or marks already registered or pending before the USPTO.
Factors considered in determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion are:
- The similarity of the marks; and
- The commercial relationship between the goods or services listed in the application.
To find a conflict, the marks do not have to be identical, and the goods and/or services do not have
to be the same. It may be enough that the marks are similar and the goods and/or services related.