Is It Illegal in the United States to Use a Registered Trademark?

We recognise that many of you are already aware of the situation, but here is a quick reminder for those who aren’t.

If you use a trademark name that has been registered in the United States, you have the right to protect it and prevent others from using it. This implies that if someone uses your trademarked name without your permission or authority, they may be held accountable for the resulting damages. For example, if someone sells counterfeit items at a business that also offers genuine things, buyers may sue for copyright infringement (which could lead to triple damages). The same is true for every other sort of intellectual property law violation—whether deliberate or unintentional, unauthorised usage qualifies as infringement!

You would have a trademark claim if you designed a product, as shown below, and someone else used a comparable mark on their product (their own version of it), but with a different name or title in their mark, or anything extremely close to your mark.

For example, if I put my name on the side of my car and someone else decided to call their brand “My Car,” I probably wouldn’t be able to prohibit them from using that name for their automobiles.

The USPTO’s Mission: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a Department of Commerce office that grants patents for innovations, trademarks, and copyrights. For further information on this release, please contact: Tracy Young-Smith/202-272-4316/toryoungsmith@uspto.go About the authorTrademark Fundamentals: Service markings, which are a separate sort of mark, should not be confused with trademarks. A trademark is the brand name or sign that distinguishes your goods or service as uniquely yours. A service mark identifies the provider of services (often a firm) and assures the public that they are receiving high-quality services from them. This is true only if the service mark is intended to identify the source. As shown in our examples above, it may be feasible to utilise comparable marks on products and services to avoid infringing on someone else’s trademark. This is something we would want to avoid since it might lead to customer misunderstanding.

This is exactly what may happen with a registered trademark in the United States.

You have the right to file a trademark that is comparable to another company’s registered trademark in the United States. For example, if you have a registered trademark for “Apple” and Apple has a similar-sounding name for one of its products (such as “iPad”), you can use federal law to defend your mark by initiating an objection or cancellation petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

This is a made-up story. The characters are completely made up and have no connection to any real persons, businesses, or organisations other than the author of this essay.

Many single words are confusingly similar to trademarks.

The phrase “T-shirt,” for example, is a trademarked name for a type of apparel, but it does not precisely relate to any type of clothing. The term “sweater” might also be used in this situation, but the USPTO would not allow someone else to use their own word as a trademark since it is too similar to theirs (which they have registered).

To apply for trademark , you must submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you do not submit a trademark application within one year of using the mark, the USPTO will not allow anybody else to hold it. You must additionally pay a filing fee of $275 per class of products or services (this is distinct from any attorney’s expenses). When the USPTO approves or denies your application, they will notify you. If they deny your registration, you can either file an appeal in court or try again the following year. All usage must be allowed by once registered.

Here are some examples of popular word variants used as trademarks.

Company X wishes to safeguard their brand. They are not permitted to use the term “X” in their name. Instead, they’d have to come up with a new moniker, or at least a means to let people know who they are and what they’re up to.

Consider the following example: Company Y prefers to be recognised by the acronym “YM” rather than just “Y” since it sounds nicer when said aloud (a lot like how having an M after your name makes you sound more important). This is now a registered trademark under US law; but, if someone else begins using this identical abbreviation without permission, it is illegal—even though both firms can use it interchangeably!

If you hold a trademark that is identical to the trademark of another firm, you have the right to defend it.

If they utilise your mark in their own product (such as “Apple” or “Microsoft”), you can file an injunction to prevent them from using it in the future. You’ll need to demonstrate that buyers will be confused if they continue to use your brand (s).

If someone else uses your trademark without your permission and does not intend to sell products under that name, this may constitute unfair competition and give rise to liability claims from both parties involved—the person who uses his/her name without permission and those who would otherwise be entitled by law (the original owner).



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