I came across a company that has a similar logo to mine. Is this trademark infringement?



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Question:

I registered a logo for my company several years ago, and recently came across another company’s logo on a website that is basically the same as mine.  Although the company’s products are different than the ones I manufacture, I’m afraid that some people are going to confuse the two companies including possible website trademark infringement.  Is there anything I can do?

Answer:

Your logo may be considered a trademark, defined as a word, symbol, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes a particular manufacturer’s or seller's products from that of another. According to the federal Lanham Act which governs most trademarks, in order for a mark or logo to be deemed a trademark, it must be distinctive and not generic. Generic marks or words receive no protection. If your logo passes the trademark criteria and was registered before that of the second company’s, certain protections attached with that registration.

The second company may have violated your trademark if its logo is deemed so similar as to cause consumer confusion. To determine possible consumer confusion, courts look at the strength of your mark (how much it evokes your product in consumers’ minds), the similarity of the marks in question, similarity of the product lines, as well as actual confusion. Even where no confusion is shown, and the products are dissimilar, the courts may look at whether the strength of your mark is being "diluted." Definitely check with an attorney experienced in trademark law to determine whether your case falls under internet trademark infringement.

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