Are you planning to start a business or a company? So you might have started choosing a business name that may be more confusing than you think. If you randomly pick a name that’s too similar to another business, the business you accidentally copied the name can claim you for trademark infringement. As a startup, you can easily avoid trademark infringement by doing a trademark search. Trademarks aren’t just limited to a business’s name. A business can also do trademark filing for :

  • A logo, such as Apple’s iconic apple.
  • A domain name, such as a website URL.
  • A phrase, such as Nike’s “Just do it.”
  • A color, like Home Depot’s distinctive orange hue.

What is Trademark Infringement?

Trademark Infringement means using a trademark, which some other person, company, or corporation owns, without permission. A trademark is a design, logo, brand, word or slogan that serves as an identifying symbol for a product/service. Getting a trademark for a product/service rewards independent rights from the to the trademark owner. This legally restricts any other person, business, or organization from using it in their name. In words, you cannot use registered trademarks. So how do you avoid trademark infringement? Let’s find out how can small businesses avoid accidental trademark infringement.

7 Useful tips to avoid Trademark Infringement :

First of all, make sure you know what a trademark is. It’s not the same as patent or copyright, although these all are intellectual properties.

A trademark is a sign that can be represented as a logo, or product name, music or even a mark. It distinguishes your product or service with you or your business as the producer or seller. An unregistered trademark refers to the mark designed by a business or individual to distinguish the product or service in the market. But it does not give strong security to the product or service. A registered trademark gives many rights to the registered owner of a particular use of the mark with complete protection of the mark in the market.

Trademark infringement is a problem if two or more businesses have brands that are too alike. This can confuse customers and welcomes other legal problems. If your trademark is too close to another existing trademark, you can be in for costly legal disputes. The safest way to avoid trademark infringement is to make sure your brand is uncommon at the outset. File for trademark registration.

Read more about : Difference between registered and unregistered trademarks?

You’ve got a great business idea along with a unique business name, secure it. Go ahead and keep scanning the internet and see what happens all around. Are you well aware of the trademark search service?. If no, then understand it now. Trademark search is a service that assists you in search of trademarks (logo, name, image, etc.). You can take experts’ help. Legalraasta offers the service online free trademark search tool.
If the name is too broad, add some relevant keywords related to your business.

Don’t just look at the first page of results. Scroll down for different pages. Is there anything out there that looks similar to what you’re planning to offer? If so, view tweaking or changing that name. You can do the same thing using Google image search.

  • Hire a trademark lawyer

You can’t search for anything that sounds like your trademark? That’s great. Now it’s a point to contact your legal team to do some more detailed research.

 Hiring a lawyer to help you through the process of trademark registration. A lawyer who specializes in trademark law will help you complete the application and do precise research to assure you’re not infringing on another trademark.

Establishing a proper track from the start can save you a lot of time and money in statutory fees and/or re-branding down the road.

If you have already begun your business with a popular website and business cards. But you’re not sure that your trademark doesn’t clash with businesses on a national or international level.

It’s forever better to be proactive. Reach your lawyer to examine the trademark you’re using. If there are potential problems you’re better off being in control of the situation. You can pick whether you want to change your brand, or attempt to buy the trademark from its owner. Re-branding might be costly, but it’s only going to get costlier and extra difficult if you are bound to do it later on. If you have a small business that doesn’t mean that you are safe. In words, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about trademark infringement.

The Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha v. M/S Prius Auto Industries Ltd is a perfect example of this. Many small companies startup out of a home-based business. They have a comprehensive product and they grow a lot. .

The first landmark judgment on cybersquatting. The Delhi High Court, for the first time in India, held that a domain name follows the identical function as a trademark and is entitled to similar protection. The defendant had a domain name ‘Yahoo India!’ which was the same and phonetically similar to the plaintiff’s trademark ‘Yahoo!’. The court believed that internet users are confused and misled into believing that both the domain names have the same source. The party took a stand that it had put a disclaimer on its website.

Trademark law states that infringement occurs not only when the use of the trademark causes confusion. But can also occur when the use of the trademark harms the reputation of the registered owner. In this case, Yahoo successfully argued that yahoo India create a negative impression for customers just by sounding similar to their domain.
Large companies can and will support their trademark rights. It’s best to avoid any references to other products or companies in your trademark, no matter how rich it could be.

Many people are aware of brands that have become so linked with a kind of product they are no longer seen as trademarks. Brands like aspirin or kleenex are such examples of this. You might be shocked to know about some other commonly used words that are, in fact, trademarks. For example, DC Comics and Marvel have joint trademark rights on the name Super Hero.

Another basic mistake comes up when registering your website’s domain name. Just because you can lawfully register a domain name doesn’t mean it can’t lead to trademark infringement. If your domain name is alike to a registered trademark you may be asked to show that your use of the domain is separate from that of the trademark holder.

  •  Consider general liability insurance

 If you are accused of trademark infringement, general liability insurance can assist pay for your legal expenses, including:

  • Attorney fees.
  • Expert witness testimony.
  • Court fees.
  • Settlements, or judgments if you lose the case.

Conclusion

For starting your own business, you must gain a clear understanding of the legal use of the trademark. And the risks of trademark infringement. Infringement cases can be costly & time-consuming, especially for small businesses. To avoid so follow the steps mentioned above.

Legalraasta is willing to offer all the services related to the trademark. You can apply for trademark registration in India or USA or trademark renewal. Even if you want a trademark search we have an online tool & its free of cost. In addition, we have service for trademark objection as well that assist in sue other companies for using your trademark. You can call us at 8750008585 or mail us at [email protected]

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