How can I avoid infringing on an existing trademark?

Proper representation of your company and brand is vital if you want to make an impact on the New York market place. This typically involves designing a memorable trademark, which will serve to distinguish your enterprise from competitors. However, ensuring that your trademark doesn’t infringe on one already in existence is crucial to prevent costly litigation from occurring down the line.

According to Entrepreneur, determining whether your trademark infringes on another often hinges on a few different factors. For instance, the overall strength or weakness of your trademark can be a consideration. Some similarity between trademarks is to be expected if your company is among a large assortment of competitors offering comparable products. However, trademarks must still have distinct differences to ensure infringement does not occur.

To this end, comparisons will be made between your company’s trademark and those of other companies. The visual makeup of a trademark features highly in such comparisons, as does the similarity between products offered. Even alternate meanings and spellings can be suspect if the trademarks are too close in resemblance. This has to do with the issue of confusion between two separate companies, which is an integral factor in many infringement suits.

Consumer confusion is yet another factor to be considered. In this case, the savviness of the consumer in question and the type of item being purchased will usually play a role. Less knowledgeable consumers purchasing low-value items are more likely to be confused by products bearing similar trademarks. In this case, manufacturers of such items should be warier of utilizing similar trademarks than those offering more distinguishable, big-ticket items. 

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