Best Lawyers for Trademark Law in America

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Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Corporate Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Antitrust Law Mediation Arbitration Litigation - Antitrust
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Orlando, Florida Jacksonville, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Commercial Litigation Trademark Law First Amendment Law Franchise Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Copyright Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Information Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Art Law Trademark 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:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trade Secrets Law Information Technology Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Nonprofit / Charities Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Providence, Rhode Island
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Construction Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Franchise Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright 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:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Patent Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent 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:
    Technology Law Information Technology Law Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Irvine, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Information Technology Law Construction Law Commercial Litigation Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Information Technology Law Trademark Law Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent 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 Patent Law Trademark Law Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Orlando, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Antitrust Law Franchise Law Trademark 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:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Technology Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Concord, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
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 Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Construction Patent Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Franchise Law Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate Law Copyright Law Technology 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:
    Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Maine
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Franchise 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:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Memphis, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Franchise Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Technology Law Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Commercial Litigation Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
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:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law Copyright Law
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 Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Entertainment Law - Music Media Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Privacy and Data Security Law Entertainment Law - Theater First Amendment Law Franchise Law Commercial Litigation Advertising Law Litigation - First Amendment Litigation - Patent Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Litigation - Patent
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:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark Law Trade Secrets Law Information Technology Law Technology Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Troy, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Litigation - Patent
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:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Commercial Litigation Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Patent Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Southfield, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Patent Patent Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Entertainment Law - Music Trademark Law Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Trademark Law Copyright Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Practice Areas:
    Mergers and Acquisitions Law Trademark Law Corporate Law Venture Capital Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Des Moines, Iowa
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Patent Law Copyright Law Trademark 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:
    Technology Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law Copyright Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Advertising Law Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television Trademark Law Media Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Huntersville, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Trademark 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 - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Patent Law Litigation - Patent Trade Secrets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Information Technology Law Corporate Law Copyright Law Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Appellate Practice Commercial Litigation Patent Law Trademark Law Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Patent Law Trademark 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:
    Antitrust Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Coral Gables, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Arbitration Copyright Law Patent Law Mediation Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Missoula, Montana
  • Practice Areas:
    Copyright Law Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Trademark Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Patent Copyright Law Patent Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Litigation - Patent Trademark Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Copyright Law Trademark Law

  • 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.