Did you know that states have trademark infringement laws as well as the Federal government? If you’ve obtained a federal trademark, you can file an infringement suit under federal laws, but don’t forget your state’s laws as well. Although states offer some level of protection, federal protection of trademarks is more extensive.
The first step in looking at an infringement suit would be to find out if anyone else has the trademark in question. How do you find that out? Florida makes it easy to find by listing them in the Florida trademark database. This information will help if you are considering filing for a trademark. It wouldn’t be beneficial to file to have the name, “Whips and Chains” for a tack shop when there’s a “Whips and Chains” bondage bar in the next town.
Trademark infringement goes much further than copying a name. You can also find yourself in litigation if you design your packaging in the same style as a competitor. Let’s say you have a peanut butter and chocolate candy making business. Now you are looking for eye catching packaging. If I were you I would stay away from orange wrapping with the name of the candy in big yellow letters. Reese’s might think you are stealing their trademarked design. Melodies are another touchy area. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to come up with a melody for a new song that is unlike any other melody. With all the songs there have been throughout history, how can you not sound like at least one of them. I know I’ve listened to a few and thought they sounded like another song. So keep in mind, if you’re coming up with combinations of notes for a new song, be careful not to have another song stuck in your head. It could cost you.
Be careful when you start any new business or other creative venture. When you get an idea, be sure to register it immediately. Run; don’t walk to get a trademark or patent. If you are ever faced with filing a trademark infringement lawsuit or even if one has been filed against you, you are going to need legal representation. Remember that even though you may be dealing with a federal trademark, Florida has laws governing this as well. There are law firms in Florida that specialize in this type of law. Protect your intellectual property.