Trade Names and Trademarks represent one of the key assets to any business, and are often at issue in business and commercial litigation. These are the mechanisms through which a business builds goodwill and community recognition. Successful Trade Names and Trademarks therefore add significant value to a business, and people take great efforts to protect them. When a third party uses the same or similar Trade Name or Trademark such that there is a likelihood of confusion, there is the potential for a claim of infringement.
A “Trademark”, according to California Business and Professions Code § 14202(a), means any word, name, symbol or device, or any combination thereof, used by a person to identify and distinguish the goods of that person from those manufactures and sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods.
A “Trade Name”, according to California Business and Professions Code § 14202(d), means a word, name, symbol, device, or any combination thereof used by a person to identify his or her business, vocation or occupation and to distinguish it from the business, vocation or occupation of others.
A fundamental principle of Trademark law is “first in time equals first in right”, which ordinarily results in priority being granted with the earlier use of a mark or name in commerce. The safest route to ensuring protection of your business name or mark is registration of your Trademark and/or the filing of a fictitious business name on your Trade Name.
Successful Trademark infringement suits can recover the income gained by the infringer. You can also enjoin the further use of your Trade Name if you believe another’s use is likely to result in the erosion of the public’s identification of your business with that name. If you have been using a Trade Name or Trademark publicly and continuously, you can have others barred from using the same name or mark, or a similar name or mark, in the form of a court ordered injunction.
The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi has successfully represented businesses large and small in Trademark infringement actions. We are experienced in successfully prosecuting and defending such actions, and can assist you based on an assessment of the merits of your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.