Bonjour mes amis!
"Designer" dust plugs are no better than counterfeit purses.By now you may have seen the dust plugs made to fit into the headphone jack in your cell phone. Many of these charms are modeled after a famous designer handbag. These look-alikes also sport the trademarks of the handbags from which they are designed. Yup, by "sport" I mean further infringe. Assuming there was no licensing agreement with the original designers copied, these charms infringe on the trademark owner's exclusive right to use or authorize use of marks.
Have you seen these phone charms in person or online on places like Etsy, Pinterest, or Instagram?
Although the designers being copied are not creating their own versions of these charms, these charms still constitute infringement. If you are a long-time reader of my blog you may recall my post, Infringement for the love of fashion, about trademark infringing cell phone cases I found on Etsy.
Successful trademark registration does not give a mark owner exclusive ownership of words; however, a trademark owner gets the right to oversee use of the mark and prevent use of a confusingly similar mark in the same line of goods or services.
Can you determine which brand's popularity is being used to sell the following dust plugs?
Owners of famous marks gain broader rights over their marks. These owners can prevent use of their marks on goods that do not compete with their product. Many factors can be taken into consideration when a trademark owner goes against someone else's used mark:
- Degree of similarity
- Strength of trademark
- Existence of customer confusion
- Evidence of dilution
- Lack of sophistication on part of buyers to distinguish between the products
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