Defending trade marks

gavelPassing off occurs when somebody represents their goods and services to be the goods and services of somebody else. No one is entitled to steal another’s trade by deceit.

Passing off can occur by somebody adopting the same or similar trade mark as yours, by adopting the same or similar get-up or appearance of the product or services as yours or by implying to the  public that their product and service is somehow or other connected with yours when it is not.

Passing off, if established, can be the subject of injunctions awarded by the courts and the party guilty of passing off can be ordered to pay damages and costs.

If you suspect that a competitor is passing off their products or services as yours, it is essential that you seek advice immediately. The longer you live with the situation, the more difficult it  is to remedy — the courts might consider an owner’s acquiescence as evidence not serious about protecting the mark.

Infringement occurs when someone else uses a trade mark which is the same as or similar to a registered trade mark for the same or similar goods and/or services. Infringement can  be restrained by an injunction ordered by the courts. The courts can also award damages and costs to the owner of the registered trade mark which is infringed.

If you suspect that your registered trade mark is being infringed then action needs to be taken promptly. Delays of days or weeks can affect your chances of obtaining the appropriate relief.

If you require help or advice, please contact a member of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.