Likelihood of confusion- what does it mean?
In trade mark disputes and infringement cases, a phrase used in almost every one is ‘likelihood of confusion’.
This is the basis that every trade mark is considered on through registration, on to any disputes that arise.
It is important as a trade mark owner or a potential one that you are clear on its meaning and the impact it could have on you.
Likelihood of confusion in essence means the likelihood that the general public considering the two marks will mistake them from originating from the same place or the same brand. This confusion occurs when the two marks are similar.
To establish if there is a likelihood of confusion, it needs to be considered firstly if the goods/services the mark is registered for is similar as well as the mark itself.
A number of elements will be considered when determining similarity, including any visual, aural and conceptual elements. Determining similarity is not an exact science therefore you need to prepare for a result that may differ from your own. The Intellectual Property Office considering your case, eg UK or EU, will have the final say on the matter.
If you are considering to register a mark, you need to be sure that it is not similar to any existing marks that have already been registered.
Even if you don’t want to register your mark, you can still be subject to trade mark infringement claims if an existing mark finds out about your use.
The best course of action is to complete a trade mark search before you fully invest in your brand. The Trademarkroom can offer you a full search and detailed report considering all marks registered in the UK and the EU. This is priced very competitively at £100 plus VAT. We also offer a free search but this will not be as detailed therefore not as effective for you.
For more information, contact Jane Coyle at The Trademarkroom today for a bespoke quote and advice.
By Ellis Sweetenham