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The basics of trademarks and trademark infringement

Creating a business is a challenge. Maintaining that business and the good will it has developed over time is a whole other matter. Although this means building and utilizing business relationships through the proper use of contracts, as well as having adequate supply and demand to make one competitive in the market, it also means protecting intellectual property. This property, which includes copyrights, trademarks, and patents, can mean the difference between running a successful and profitable business and having one that is being taken advantage of by others.

This week we will take a brief look at trademarks. A trademark is any kind of mark, whether it be a work, logo, or slogan that distinguishes the source of a good from others. For example, the Nike swoosh is a trademarked logo. Those who see clothing with that logo know that they are receiving quality goods from a particular manufacturer. When cheaper manufacturers utilize that logo, they water down the meaning of Nike's brand. This is because clothing of a lesser quality is then attributed to Nike.

This is one of the many reasons why it is important to police one's intellectual property, including trademarks. A business that discovers that its marks are being illegally used without permission can take legal action to put a stop to such use and, perhaps, recover compensation for damages caused by that illegal use.

In order to succeed in intellectual property litigation, though, a trademark owner will have to show certain legal elements, which we discuss more in-depth in another post. Suffice it to say, however, that these element can be more challenging to address than they appear. With so much on the line, including a business's reputation and profits, those affected by trademark infringement need to carefully consider their legal options. Qualified business litigation professionals like those at our firm stand ready to help.

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