How to Determine if One Trademark is Infringing Another?

No one likes it when they come to know that their property or asset has been stolen. The same applies to intangible assets such as trademarks. Trademarks constitute a word, symbols, or phrases that businesses use to distinguish their goods or services from that of other businesses. Even though trademark registration in the UAE is the first step in protecting your trademarks, other parties can still steal them.

Stealing your registered trademarks through unauthorised use constitutes a trademark infringement. Trademark infringement can be defined as using someone else’s trademark without permission thereby causing confusion, deception, or a mistake about ownership of goods or services. Trademark infringements must be properly identified and stopped at the earliest otherwise, you will face financial loss and reputation damage.

Trademark agents in Dubai can help you in case someone else violates your trademark rights. In this article, we have described certain key criteria that will help you to determine how one trademark is infringing another.

Use of a Registered Trademark 

One of the first criteria to determine whether an infringement has occurred is to assess whether the infringement action constitutes ’trademark use’. Trademark infringement through use happens when someone illegally uses a logo, brand name or a slogan that is identical or confusingly similar to your trademark. The unauthorised use of logo, brand name or slogan may appear on goods, goods’ packaging or containers, and commercial transaction documents, services, promotion, advertisement, exhibition, and other commercial activities.

Likelihood of Confusion  

The likelihood of confusion is the most significant criterion for determining whether trademark infringement has occurred. Courts give top priority to the likelihood of confusion to prove acts of trademark infringement. The likelihood of confusion means that the public has a higher chance of confusing your mark with that of another business. You have to prove the likelihood of confusion in a court during a dispute to win a trademark infringement case in your favour.

To determine whether consumers believe that the brands at issue are related, affiliated, connected, or that the goods or services originate from the same source, there are four main factors to consider: appearance, sound, meaning and commercial impression. Courts carefully weigh these and other factors before determining whether a likelihood of confusion exists. Courts consider the following types of similarities to prove the likelihood of confusion:

1. Appearance 

The likelihood of confusion arises when two trademarks share a common word or term. In such a case,  the two trademarks will be considered similar in appearance. They will be similar in appearance even if one trademark adds other letters or words to it, especially if the added aspect describes or suggests the goods or services it represents. Consult with trademark agents in Dubai if you spot another trademark that is similar in appearance to yours.

2. Sound 

The trademark examiner will consider two trademarks to be confusingly similar if they share a common word or term that sounds similar while pronouncing. Even though there is no proper way to pronounce a trademark, the examiners follow a general rule that brings some clarity in identifying infringement. The logic of this rule is that no one can predict how the public will pronounce a certain word or term associated with a trademark. For instance, ISHINE and ICE SHINE are two trademarks that sound confusingly similar while uttering the terms.

3. Meaning 

When two trademarks share a similar meaning and the goods or services they represent are similar, the likelihood of consumer confusion arises.  For example, you will be slapped with a cease and desist letter if you try to market a computer product using a mark called ’Applet’. It is because the consumers are likely to confuse ’Applet’ computers with ’Apple’ computers.

4. Commercial Impression 

The commercial impression is one of the four factors used to determine the likelihood of confusion. Likelihood of confusion due to commercial impression occurs when a trademark gives an impression to the consumers that it is sponsored by, endorsed by or is somehow affiliated with another brand. For example, a company using the “Sleekcraft” trademark to sell high-speed boats may create brand confusion among consumers due to the presence of “Skillcraft” boats. Consult with trademark agents in the UAE to identify trademark confusion due to commercial impressions.

How can Trademark Agents in Dubai Help You? 

One of the main objectives of conducting trademark registration in the UAE is to prevent competitors from using similar marks that may create confusion for consumers. Trademark infringement can be determined using efficient trademark watch services provided by trademark agents in Dubai such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP).

Comparing trademarks for similarities is a skill that develops over time, and JIP has qualified agents who are skilled at detecting trademark infringement. Our agents have developed the skill as a result of years of practising the trademark law. If you are interested in a trademark consultation, feel free to contact one of our best trademark agents in the UAE.

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