Trademarks are intellectual property rights and are protected by law because they have property values.
Recently, there was an article saying that Burberry of the UK won a trademark lawsuit against a Korean underwear company, and the Korean underwear company paid a large fine. Trademark is a brand name, in the form of words, names, images with a symbol, or two or more used together, and functions to distinguish who the seller or producer of a product is. In the lawsuit between Burberry and a Korean underwear company, the key question was whether the brown checkered pattern used on the underwear infringed on Burberry’s trademark, and the court ruled that there is room for people to mistake it for Burberry. The company was fined.
Trademarks are intellectual property rights and are protected by law because they have property values. In the United States, trademark rights are regulated by federal law and are managed and protected by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Since trademark rights are also a criterion for consumers to make decisions about products, many businesses register their own trademarks to protect them from being used by others. This is important to prevent others from using it.
Many people mistake an Internet website domain (domain) for the same as a trademark (trademark) and misunderstand that they have a trademark because they have a domain. Domains and trademarks are completely different things, and having a domain does not mean you have trademark rights to the same word. For this reason, there are some people who use the name as a domain without knowing that someone has already registered it with the USPTO as a trademark, and then get a trademark infringement lawsuit from the trademark registrant and say that it is unfair. In such a situation, the domain user’s attorney looks at how the domain’s corresponding word was presented on the website. If the word corresponding to the domain address was used as a trademark on the website, it could be grounds for claiming that the trademark was being used.
Also, it is often thought that when you form a company and register your company name with the state, you automatically acquire trademark rights. Even if a company name is registered with the state, it is not protected by federal law unless it is registered as a trademark with the USPTO. Therefore, if the company name you are using is not registered as a trademark, it would be wiser to consider registering a trademark in terms of managing your company’s intellectual property rights.
Trademark rights are more closely linked to our lives than we think. Because every brand name of the object we come across every day is the subject of trademark rights. Recently, in a Korean entertainment program, a flasher is called “Burberry Man”, isn’t that a trademark infringement? I saw it. It remains to be seen whether Burberry, which is active in protecting their trademarks, will step up to that point.
If you have any additional questions about the contents of the column, or if there is a law you would like to know about, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will reflect it in the next column to be written.