Ewaniszyk Law Firm Serving California’s Legal Needs Since 1986

Did someone overstep your business trademark?

You spent weeks going back and forth with a graphic designer to come up with the perfect design for your Victorville, Caifornia, coffee shop: an oversized white mug, filled with black coffee, a cute little trail of steam coming from the cup. The words "Joe's Java Hut" are written on the bottom of the mug in small script.

Two years later, Joe's is a big success. The line goes 10 deep each morning. But one day, a customer you've never seen brings in a coupon you've also never seen. It's for a new coffee stop in town. The logo is nearly identical to yours. The name of the business? Java the Hut.

The customer insists the coupon is for your shop. You do a double take since the logos and company name are so close.

Did Java the Hut just steal your logo and name?

Maybe. It's possible that Java the Hut is in violation of trademark law, but there are a lot of questions that need to be asked to determine if the competitor's logo will help cool off your coffee sales.

One hallmark of trademark law is the need to determine whether two logos will confuse the clientele. That's often the reason a trademark infringement case is brought against one party. Before you take any legal action, it's vital that you look critically and objectively at the two marks. And as you do, ask yourself if there is a likelihood people could be confused between the two.

If you determine it could cause confusion, there are a number of questions to ask yourself, including these, for starters:

  1. Will a customer buy the competitor's product thinking it's your product?
  2. Are the two the same type of item? Are the two businesses direct competitors?
  3. Are both products sold in the same type of store?
  4. What was the second company's intention in using that mark?
  5. Did the second company mean to mimic your logo?

If you think www.ewaniszyklaw.com/Civil-Litigation.shtml or even slogan, an experienced intellectual property law practitioner can aid you in protecting your property.

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