What is trademark infringement in the United States?

What is trademark infringement in the United States?

In the United States trademark infringement is defined as the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.

In many countries, a trademark which is not registered with the government cannot be infringed, but this is not true in the United States because the United States recognizes common law trademark rights.

While the definition of trademark infringement may seem straight forward it is actually very complex.

For a discussion of the meaning of “likelihood of confusion” means you should read the earlier post: What does likelihood of confusion mean for a trademark?

Whether or not a person accused of trademark infringement has authorization to use a trademark is also a complex subject. Obviously copying one person’s trademark just because the trademark is popular and putting it on counterfeit goods without their permission is infringement. But what about resellers that have purchased trademarked goods from authorized dealers? Whether or not that activity is trademark infringement can be fact specific.

It is best to speak to an attorney that specializes in trademark law if you believe your trademark is being infringed or you have been accused of trademark infringement.