trademark dilution vs. trademark infringement

A trademark’s importance cannot be overstated. These marks help to identify and distinguish a brand from its competitors. That is why business owners must be vigilant about trademark infringement and dilution. Knowing the difference between these two terms and being able to identify potential threats to a brand is essential for protecting your business and ensuring its growth.

What Is Trademark Infringement

Using another’s trademark without obtaining the trademark owner’s permission amounts to trademark infringement. Courts determine if there has been a trademark infringement by assessing whether there is a possibility of confusion between a trademark and another mark. This means that the court will look into whether consumers are likely to be confused about the origin of the services or products. Several factors are taken into account by courts when determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion, including the strength of a person’s trademark, whether there has been any actual confusion, the similarity of the trademarks, and the defendant’s intentions in using the trademark.

What Is Trademark Dilution

Trademark dilution is a situation in which another party uses a trademark that is too similar to a famous trademark. This similarity can harm a customer’s perception of the well-known trademark. 

There are two types of harm that arise from trademark dilution: “blurring” and “tarnishment.” “Blurring” occurs when a renowned trademark’s distinctiveness is impacted because it becomes or is likely to become connected with a similar trademark. As a result, when a third party uses a trademark that is too similar to the famous mark, it weakens the consumer’s perception that the well-known mark is related to the plaintiff’s services or goods.

On the other hand, “tarnishment” is when a famous trademark’s reputation is damaged due to the association with another similar trademark. This typically happens when another trademark’s use is linked to an inferior good or service or is considered unsavory.

The Major Differences Between Dilution and Infringement

Although the concepts of trademark dilution and trademark infringement may appear to be similar, there are numerous differences between these two concepts, including the following:

  • Confusion: One significant difference between these two concepts is that trademark dilution does not require the plaintiff to show a likelihood of confusion. Instead, dilution can result even if the infringing party has not misled the customer.
  • Famous Mark: In trademark dilution claims, only famous trademarks are protected. In contrast, in trademark infringement, a business or individual can protect any trademark, regardless of its fame. 
  • Available Remedies: In trademark infringement cases, the plaintiff can fight for financial recovery and injunctive relief. However, in trademark dilution cases, the general remedy is injunctive relief, although compensation may be awarded in certain situations.

To learn more about these differences and how they can impact a case, consider speaking with an experienced trademark attorney. These legal professionals can examine these differences in detail and help you determine which is relevant to your case.

To Learn More About Your Options Regarding Trademark Dilution and Infringement, Contact TM Law Today

For additional information about trademark infringement and trademark dilution, their differences, and what they can mean for your case, contact TM Law today and speak with a member of our legal team.