Trademark Registration and Infringement Concerns Across State Lines

Before federal trademarks were enacted, most individuals and companies registered their marks with the state. State registration for trademarks is still available and less expensive, but with most companies and products wanting to be national, federal trademarks are worth the expense and added protection. In fact, unless a company plans on only selling their goods or services in the state – which is particularly rare with so many companies selling over the Internet – federal registration makes more sense for most businesses.

A business’ name is vital to its branding and sales tactics. Recently, the IP Watchdog magazine commented that trademark infringement is one of the top five mistakes that a startup company makes. As a company gets busy with all the other tasks to get sales and operations going, it can brush off critical steps that will protect the business’ identity, efforts, and assets. Every business can benefit from speaking with a qualified intellectual property attorney to do a full clearance search, to register, acquire, and enforce its trademark.

The current lawsuit of iCloud Communications v. Apple demonstrates the importance of far-reaching trademark protection. iCloud Communications is a Phoenix, Arizona based company that sells cloud computing telecommunication services, hardware, and software. They have used their trademark since 2005 and expended a lot of effort and money to establish, “goodwill and valuable rights in and ownership to the iCloud Marks in connection with computer telephony and electronic data transmission and storage services.” So it was to their surprise when Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled a new telecommunications and data storage platform called iCloud on June 6 at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

IP and trademark cases usually favor the company that used the registered trademark first and are backed by evidence of how the trademarks were used in the state versus federal context. Already the Phoenix company says it is getting calls “from both existing and prospective customers regarding whether it is now owned or affiliated with Apple” and because of Apple’s extensive marketing machine, more people will associate iCloud with Apple than anything else. If true, it seems clear then that iCloud Communications can prove that there is not only a likelihood of confusion but, there is already actual confusion.

Trademark confusion, dilution, and disputes are serious matters and when a company must stop using its mark, all collateral, customer relations, and years of effort with that particular name must cease. Moreover, in federal courts, an infringer can be liable for three times the owner’s damages plus attorney fees and court costs.

In California, Los Angeles intellectual property attorney Anthony Spotora counsels many diverse businesses to set up, purchase, and maintain their trademark rights. The Law Offices of Spotora & Associates can help a company with basic trademark registrations and more complex matters involving a large portfolio of registrations both in the United States and abroad. Their accomplished trademark attorneys can protect and enforce your trademark and ensure it’s renewed within federal guidelines to strengthen your protection.

For more information:
www.spotoralaw.com
Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C.
1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067-2302

Anthony Spotora is a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and Los Angeles business attorney. To learn more, visit Spotoralaw.com.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 10:14 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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