Best Lawyers for Trademark Law in America

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Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate Law Trademark Law Mediation Arbitration Litigation - Intellectual Property Antitrust Law Litigation - Antitrust
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Orlando, Florida Jacksonville, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    First Amendment Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Franchise Law Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Litigation - Patent Trade Secrets Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law Copyright Law Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Information Technology Law Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Trademark Law Art Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Advertising Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Trade Secrets Law Commercial Litigation Patent Law Trademark Law Information Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Nonprofit / Charities Law Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Franchise Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
Morgan Chu was awarded 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" in Elasticsearch.PracticeArea

Morgan Chu

Irell & Manella LLP
  • Location:
    Los Angeles, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Technology Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Patent Law Litigation - Patent Commercial Litigation Information Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Irvine, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Commercial Litigation Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Providence, Rhode Island
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Construction Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Information Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law Information Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Technology Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Orlando, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Antitrust Law Trademark Law Franchise Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Orlando, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Concord, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Bern, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Construction Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Franchise Law Trade Secrets Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sewickley, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Patent Law Information Technology Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Corporate Law Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Reston, Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Maine
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Franchise Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Law Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Franchise Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Information Technology Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
Peter J. Guffin was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Peter J. Guffin

Pierce Atwood LLP
  • Location:
    Portland, Maine
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Trade Secrets Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Media Law Trademark Law Entertainment Law - Theater First Amendment Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Law Litigation - First Amendment Advertising Law Litigation - Patent Franchise Law Privacy and Data Security Law Commercial Litigation Entertainment Law - Music
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Los Angeles, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Copyright Law Information Technology Law Trade Secrets Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Troy, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Providence, Rhode Island
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Entertainment Law - Music Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Venture Capital Law Copyright Law Mergers and Acquisitions Law Corporate Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Information Technology Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Woodland Hills, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Technology Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Advertising Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Media Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Huntersville, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Tampa, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Media Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Construction Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Information Technology Law Corporate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice Litigation - Patent Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, South Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Antitrust Law Commercial Litigation

  • Location:
  • Practice Areas:

Practice Area Definition

Trademark Law Definition

Trademark law encompasses the protection and enforcement of words, symbols, or phrases used to identify the source of a particular product or service. Some of the most famous trademarks in the world include APPLE®, GOOGLE®, MCDONALD’S®, and MICROSOFT®. Trademarks are governed by state law and the federal Lanham Act, which allow trademark owners to claim exclusive rights to use and register all protectable marks.

A mark is deemed protectable if it is distinctive, meaning that it is capable of identifying the source of a particular good. In determining whether a mark is distinctive, trademark law uses four separate classifications based on the relationship between the mark and the associated product: (1) arbitrary or fanciful (marks such as KODAK® and APPLE® that bear no inherent relationship to their associated products); (2) suggestive (marks such as COPPERTONE® that evoke a characteristic of the associated products); (3) descriptive (marks such as HOLIDAY INN® that directly describe a characteristic or feature of the associated products); or (4) generic (terms that describe the general category of the associated products, e.g., “phone,” “keyboard,” etc.). The first two categories of marks are protectable without proof that they have acquired distinctiveness in the minds of consumers, while descriptive marks require evidence that the consuming public has come to associate the term with its specific source. Generic terms are never protectable as trademarks, as they are necessary for general identification of a particular product category.

Once a trademark owner has acquired protectable rights in a mark, it may enforce its rights by preventing the use and/or registration of all subsequent infringing marks. The standard for infringement in the United States is “likelihood of confusion,” which means that consumers viewing the respective marks on their associated products are likely to be confused as to the source of those products or as to the sponsorship or approval of such products. In other words, determining infringement is not as simple as merely comparing the marks to see if they are identical; rather, courts will employ a multifactor test. While the precise factors vary slightly by jurisdiction, courts generally consider the following elements: (1) the strength of the plaintiff’s mark; (2) the relatedness of the goods; (3) the similarity of the marks; (4) evidence of actual confusion; (5) the similarity of marketing channels used; (6) the degree of care exercised by the typical purchaser; (7) the defendant’s intent; and (8) the likelihood of expansion of the product lines.

Protecting and enforcing trademarks is critical to the success of any company. Trademarks allow consumers to distinguish a company’s products and services from those of its competitors, and also serve as indicators of the quality of such products and services. Indeed, many companies’ trademark portfolios constitute the majority of the value of their businesses. Please consult with an experienced trademark lawyer to explore how to best to protect your company’s trademarks.

Fish & Richardson P.C.

Fish & Richardson P.C.  logo

Trademark law encompasses the protection and enforcement of words, symbols, or phrases used to identify the source of a particular product or service. Some of the most famous trademarks in the world include APPLE®, GOOGLE®, MCDONALD’S®, and MICROSOFT®. Trademarks are governed by state law and the federal Lanham Act, which allow trademark owners to claim exclusive rights to use and register all protectable marks.

A mark is deemed protectable if it is distinctive, meaning that it is capable of identifying the source of a particular good. In determining whether a mark is distinctive, trademark law uses four separate classifications based on the relationship between the mark and the associated product: (1) arbitrary or fanciful (marks such as KODAK® and APPLE® that bear no inherent relationship to their associated products); (2) suggestive (marks such as COPPERTONE® that evoke a characteristic of the associated products); (3) descriptive (marks such as HOLIDAY INN® that directly describe a characteristic or feature of the associated products); or (4) generic (terms that describe the general category of the associated products, e.g., “phone,” “keyboard,” etc.). The first two categories of marks are protectable without proof that they have acquired distinctiveness in the minds of consumers, while descriptive marks require evidence that the consuming public has come to associate the term with its specific source. Generic terms are never protectable as trademarks, as they are necessary for general identification of a particular product category.

Once a trademark owner has acquired protectable rights in a mark, it may enforce its rights by preventing the use and/or registration of all subsequent infringing marks. The standard for infringement in the United States is “likelihood of confusion,” which means that consumers viewing the respective marks on their associated products are likely to be confused as to the source of those products or as to the sponsorship or approval of such products. In other words, determining infringement is not as simple as merely comparing the marks to see if they are identical; rather, courts will employ a multifactor test. While the precise factors vary slightly by jurisdiction, courts generally consider the following elements: (1) the strength of the plaintiff’s mark; (2) the relatedness of the goods; (3) the similarity of the marks; (4) evidence of actual confusion; (5) the similarity of marketing channels used; (6) the degree of care exercised by the typical purchaser; (7) the defendant’s intent; and (8) the likelihood of expansion of the product lines.

Protecting and enforcing trademarks is critical to the success of any company. Trademarks allow consumers to distinguish a company’s products and services from those of its competitors, and also serve as indicators of the quality of such products and services. Indeed, many companies’ trademark portfolios constitute the majority of the value of their businesses. Please consult with an experienced trademark lawyer to explore how to best to protect your company’s trademarks.