Lessons learned from trademark likelihood of confusion, “patio” & “palace”

When you think of trademark infringement, you may think of a service or product having the same name.  But did you know that even a name that is similar can also be considered infringement?  This is when the trademark concept of “likelihood of confusion” comes into play.  Just in the earlier part of this year, Hialeah’s El Patio de los Jugos was found to be similar in name to the legendary South Florida chain El Palacio de los Jugos.  Though El Patio de los Jugos’s owner claimed that the word “patio” was different than “palace,” the judge stated that the two names were, “similar in their appearance, phonetics, and meaning.”  The restaurant even had a red-and-yellow awning on the outside, similar to that of Palacio de los Jugos.

It is important to protect your trademark when you have invested in building a successful brand, especially after 40 years of success like El Palacio de los Jugos.  By registering its name, its investment was protected so it could continue to benefit from its successes, and simultaneously prevent infringing parties from benefiting as well.  Palacios de los Jugos was even awarded damages ordered by the judge in the case.

There are five factors to be aware of when identifying trademark likelihood of confusion.  They are:

  1. Relatedness of goods or services
  2. Similarity of marks in appearance, sound, or meaning
  3. Likelihood to deceive or evidence of actual confusion
  4. Strength of any already existing mark
  5. Extent to which the targets of the parties’ sales efforts are the same

When you are looking to file for trademark protection, we walk you through the process of:

Adopting and selecting a new trademark, performing a trademark search, preparing and filing of the application, publishing for opposition, and obtaining an approval.

By filing a trademark application with our firm, we can significantly minimize the risk of your application being denied for likelihood of confusion or any other reason.   We are experienced in Trademark law, so if you been thinking of filing a trademark, do not delay and call us today. 

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