How Can Trade Mark Infringement Damage Your Business?

by Tim Bishop on April 30, 2014

Trade marks can be incredibly important in business. They let your customers know who you are and what you sell, as well as enhancing your brand and building a solid reputation that others can recognise and rely on. But what happens when another company starts using a similar trade mark to your own? Just how damaging can it be? And what can you actually do about it? Here’s a brief guide.

What Is A Trade Mark?

Basically, a trade mark is a name, a word, or a symbol that is used by a company or individual to identify their own goods or services and distinguish them from other products on the market. These are also termed ‘service marks’ when referring to a service over goods. There are two types of trade marks – registered and unregistered. If you have registered your trade mark officially, you are less likely to run into problems when another company tries to use it (or something extremely similar to it).

How Exactly Can It Damage Your Business?

The first problem that can occur is that of confusion with regards to potential clients and customers. If one of your rivals is using an almost identical name or logo to your own, the public may mix up your brands, going with the competition instead because they thought it was the same company. This potential loss of custom is bad enough, but what if the rival company is creating and selling inferior products or offering a bad service? Word-of-mouth should never be underestimated and if that company is getting a bad reputation, you could get one too; just as the public could get confused with which company is which, they might hear negative feedback about your rivals and assume the bad reports were to do with your own business. Both of these things can cause you financial damage that can be difficult to resolve, not to mention the stress and time it can take to try and explain about the trade mark issues to your dwindling customer base.

What To Do If You Find Yourself The Target Of Trademark Infringement

If someone is using your trade mark (or using a very similar one which is causing confusion), you must seek legal advice immediately.

Solicitors who specialise in trade mark infringement will be able to review the situation, inform you of your rights, and advise you on your next course of action, whether this be demanding damages from the company using your trade mark, or drawing up a trade mark coexistence agreement. This is when two companies who use similar trade marks (such as the name of their business or the logo they use for marketing) agree to carry on using these similar trade marks without further interference from either side. This works particularly well if the companies only need their trade marks for regional purposes.

Alternatively, your solicitors might help you to negotiate a licence, permitting whoever is using your trade mark to legally do so for a fee.

So, whether you’ve registered your trade mark or not, there is always something you can do to gain your business back if you find yourself a target of trade mark infringement; just make sure you seek legal advice of a specialist solicitor first so that you’re fully aware of your rights.

Tim Bishop is senior partner of solicitors Bonallack and Bishop. For more information about how they can help you with trademark infringement, call them on 01722 422300 or visit their specialist websites at and

Tim Bishop
Having qualified as a Solicitor in 1986, Tim Bishop is a legal entrepreneur who owns leading law firm Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors. Find out why you should choose Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors: Visit
Tim Bishop

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