Trademarks differentiate one company from another. As such, it’s important they are not diluted.
There are quite a number of different forms of intellectual property protected by law. “You may immediately recognize this form – the trademark,” said David Alden Erikson, a Los Angeles business litigation attorney. “A trademark may be a logo, phrase or even a word. Overall, the reason for using a trademark is to that the consumer is able to tell the difference between one company or entity and another. While in theory that works just fine, in actual practice, there are times when a trademark becomes diluted, meaning the distinction between one trademark and another is not clear and distinct.”
Trademarks are registered because they are intended to represent or be the “face” of an entity or a company. Think Nike and their “swoosh.” It’s vital that their trademark be different from all other trademarks. If somebody creates a similar trademark, it could be a rip-off, and could cause trademark dilution. “Dilution of a trademark happens in many different ways, like tarnishing, blurring and genericization. There are other ways to do this, but you get the general idea,” Erikson said. “Most jurisdictions these days, and that includes the U.S., have laws to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Of course, it does anyway, but there are guidelines and rules established to protect trademarks.”
The law, as it relates to diluting a trademark, was designed to address two issues. The first one deals with consumer protection. What that boils down to is that when a customer buys a trademarked item, they do so because they identify with the trademark. When they buy by trademark, say a pair of Nikes, the consumer is also identifying with the company that owns the mark or the business the mark represents.
“What’s important to note here is that the trademark isn’t just some form of representation, it is closely tied with and into corporate responsibility when it comes to quality. For example, Louis Vuitton luggage has their trademark on all products. It stands for attention to detail, classy presentation, quiet elegance and clean and simple design,” Erikson said.
“If you have done any shopping at stores that have a reputation for selling knock-offs, you’ve likely seen and perhaps even purchased a Louis Vuitton knockoff purse. If you take the time to examine it carefully, you’d notice things like the traditional Louis Vuitton trademark is slightly blurred, that the stitching isn’t quite as detailed and precise or that the zipper pull isn’t precisely the same kind or quality as the original. This is done by other companies who want to confuse consumers by getting them to think they’re getting an original at a cheap price,” Erikson said.
For those original designers and manufacturers who feel they have been ripped off by a company specializing in knockoffs, it’s time to talk to a Los Angeles business litigation attorney about defending the trademark. After all, there are laws in place to protect original creations.
To learn more about David Alden Erikson, Attorney at Law, visit http://www.daviderikson.com.