Commercial Litigation Lawyers for Trademark Disputes in Florida
Trademarks are big business. With well-known brands worth millions, and in many cases billions, of dollars, smart companies will go to great lengths to protect their trademarks, and companies adopting new trademarks must be careful to avoid infringing on others’ exclusive rights.
At Searcy Denney, we provide strategic and aggressive representation for parties on both sides of trademark disputes in Florida. Our team of litigators brings decades of experience to assessing infringement claims and helping trademark owners enforce their rights. From priority disputes to cases involving counterfeiting and clear instances of infringement, we offer deep insights and take a strategic approach focused on resolving our clients’ trademark disputes as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Trademark Infringement – The “Likelihood of Confusion” Factors
In order to establish a claim for trademark infringement, a trademark owner must establish that a third party’s use of its trademark (or a confusingly-similar mark) creates a “likelihood of confusion” in the marketplace. Each of the federal circuits considers its own list of factors when assessing trademark infringement claims; and, in Florida (which is located in the 11th Circuit), the relevant factors are:
- The strength of the plaintiff’s trademark
- The similarity between the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s trademarks
- The similarity between the parties’ goods and services
- The similarity of the parties’ trade channels (retail outlets and customer base)
- The similarity of the parties’ advertising methods
- Any evidence of intent on the part of the defendant
- Any evidence of actual confusion in the marketplace
Depending on the nature of the parties’ dispute, any one or more factors can carry the most weight in a particular case. For example, in many cases there will be a real question as to whether the parties’ trademarks are similar enough to create the potential for consumer confusion. In others, the defendant may argue that, although the parties’ trademarks are similar, the lack of any actual confusion warrants a finding of no liability. If the defendant’s (or “junior” user’s) trademark violation was unintentional, the parties may be able to quickly negotiate a settlement without the need for federal litigation.
Whatever the circumstances may be, when trademark disputes arise, it is important for both parties to seek skilled legal representation. For trademark owners, taking legal action quickly can be essential to preserving hard-earned goodwill and avoiding allegations of naked licensing or abandonment. For alleged infringers, knowing how to respond to cease-and-desist demands and deciding whether to discontinue use of an allegedly-infringing mark can be critical to building a solid brand while mitigating potential liability.
Trademark infringement claims will often arise in connection with other intellectual property disputes, and they will often follow complex merger and acquisition transactions as well. At Searcy Denney, we have the resources and capabilities to handle complex disputes involving trademark violations and other business and commercial matters throughout Florida.
Discuss Your Trademark Infringement Claim with a Litigator at Searcy Denney
If you are facing a trademark dispute and would like to speak with an attorney, contact Searcy Denney for an initial consultation. With offices in Tallahassee and West Palm Beach, we represent clients in state and federal litigation throughout Florida. To speak with an attorney in confidence, call (800) 780-8607 or contact us online now.