In a trademark infringement case, one company can sue another if another company is using its trademark or logo without permission.  Also, infringement can be found if the other company is using a logo that is substantially similar to the protected logo.  In such close cases, courts will usually check first to see if the products or services are “related” to one another.

For instance, if both companies are using the logo in connection with the sale of shoes, then it is likely that the court will find that the products are “related”.  On the other hand, if one has to do with the sale of shoes, but the other has to do with automobile repair, the products are likely not going to be considered related.

How is Does This Work?

The way this works is that similar logos that are used for “related products or services” are more likely to be considered trademark infringement.  On the other hand, similar logos or trademarks that are used for non-related products likely won’t be classified as infringement.  This of course will depend on each individual case and on the type of product/service involved.  

What are the Requirements for Products to be Considered “Related”?

Some criteria that is used when determining whether products or services are related may include:

  • Whether the goods/services will be mistaken for another (likelihood of confusion between the trademarks)
  • Whether the business in question is seeking to compete with the other business
  • Whether the products are associated with a common base of consumers
  • The degree to which the trademark or logo is distinctive when compared to other marks
  • The length of time in which the trademark was used by either party
  • The intent of the opposing business in utilizing the trademark

Thus, the determination for trademark infringement can be different from case to case.  In some cases, an expert may be consulted for an opinion on the matter

What are the Remedies for Trademark Infringement?

Trademark infringement usually results in legal remedies such as a damages award.  A company that is found to be using a logo without the owner’s permission will usually have to pay damages to make up for lost profit or income caused by the infringement.  Also, they may be required to forfeit their product, and the remaining stock of the product will usually be confiscated by authorities.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Related Products and Services Lawsuit?

Each case involving related products or services is going to be unique.  You may need to hire a qualified intellectual property attorney if you need to file a lawsuit for infringement damages.  Your attorney can help determine whether any products are related, and whether there may be any consumer confusion over the protected material.  Also, your lawyer can provide legal representation throughout the entire process, and during any appeals that may be necessary.