Trade Mark Dilution is when a well known trademark is blurred or tarnished due to another business making use of a mark that is very similar for products or services they deliver. Here is what you need to know about trade mark dilution.
The Law And Trade Mark Dilution
Trade mark laws today fortunately include protection for registered trade mark names that are diluted. All that is needed is that the complainant has a registered trade mark name and that the infringing party has a mark very similar than that of the plaintiff. If consumers can be confused, there is a legal case!
Trade mark laws also provide protection to registered trade mark names by preventing people from using domain names on the internet that makes it seem that the site is related to a well known trade mark name. There has been a case where the registered trade mark CANDYLAND (connected to a board game) was infringed by an adult Internet website with the domain name candyland.com. In such a case the registered trade name is protected and the guilty party will have to face legal consequences.
It should be quite clear why other businesses cannot choose and make use of marks and names that are similar to those of well known and established trade marks. Without having to do much work, the new company will be associated with a trustworthy and established brand – it means, so to say, a free ride!
People might confuse the new and similar mark for the registered trade mark of a known company and make use of their services rather than the company who did all the work to establish their good name. Therefore, not only are customers deceived, but it is unfair towards the company that initially registered the trade mark.
Trade mark laws regarding dilution has improved much. Previously, businesses had to wait until they actually had competition from the infringing party, and they could not lay a claim if there was not actually confusion created amongst customers. Today these requirements are not necessary in order for the law to protect a registered trade name.
It is not always as easy as it sounds to sue someone for trade mark infringement. The complainant must be a well known or established brand – if it has just been registered, it won’t be protected by dilution laws.
Knowing about the trade mark and dilution laws in your country can protect your business. Make sure you get all the necessary documents and protect your hard work from other companies trying to get a ‘free ride’ on the effort that you have put in to establish your trade mark!