Understanding Trademark Infringement in Advertising – How To Navigate The Process

Federal Trademark

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Launching an advertising campaign for your brand is an exciting yet complex endeavor. You are ensuring your brand stands out among the competition and sending out the right message to your audience. However, there is another crucial aspect you cannot afford to miss. 

Considering federal trademark laws is essential when making advertising decisions. The costs to your business and reputation could be high if you miss the legalities when running your campaigns. The rapidly changing trends and evolving nature of market practices, which now include influencers, ambassadors, and endorsers alongside more conventional channels, add to the legal complexity.

You must be mindful of the potential trademark liability you could expose yourself to using logos, phrases, slogans, words, or other aspects that represent your brand.

Comparative Advertising: Can You Use Others’ Trademarks

Comparative advertising is when the advertiser compares their product/service to the competitors’. Using another’s trademark is allowed under federal trademark laws in these circumstances. Done right, comparative advertising can be highly persuasive and influential in strengthening your brand positioning. It can also positively affect your market share and revenue. 

However, remember that such use is subject to certain conditions stipulated under federal trademark laws. Comparative advertising should not mislead or confuse the audience. If the use of a third-party trademark causes confusion or is misleading regarding its association with the advertiser, it will amount to infringement. Moreover, comparative advertisement campaigns typically undergo scrutiny, as they portray the competitor’s brand in a less favorable light. You can get in touch with a trademark attorney to help you navigate the nuances of comparative advertising.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Brand 

In a world where brands compete, most companies constantly scan the marketplace for potential infringement claims. You can never be too careful in this matter; even the slightest oversight may invite a lawsuit and unwanted expenses. Moreover, you certainly want to avoid a ‘cease and desist situation after investing thousands of dollars and countless hours in advertising campaigns. 

  • A thorough analysis and clearance of your potential trademarks is an absolute necessity to protect your brand. A trademark clearance search will help you protect your trademark by identifying identical or similar trademarks already existing in the marketplace. This way, you can steer clear of them and avoid any potential troubles you may otherwise encounter. Trademark attorneys at Off the Mark conduct a comprehensive search of federal and state databases to identify any possible issues. 
  • When it comes to comparative advertising, be aware of the strict limits of the federal trademark laws governing the use of others’ trademarks. Exercise caution in how you portray a competitor’s brand in your advertisement. Making sure your claims are sufficiently substantiated and adding disclaimers wherever necessary are a few other things you can do. 
  • On the other hand, you also need to protect your brand by preventing misuse of your trademarks by competitors. Do not ignore instances of unauthorized use and take steps to stop that from happening, including sending an enforcement letter. For some reason, if you allow unauthorized use of your trademark to persist, it can have a devastating effect on your brand.

Get in touch with our trademark attorneys to assist you with clearing potential trademarks for use, registering your federal trademarks, and staying compliant with the law.

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