What are the risks of infringement?

Minneapolis trademark attorney Jennifer Debrow explains how to minimize the risk of infringement.

Contact Jennifer Debrow

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 632-3357


So trademark infringement occurs when one party uses a mark that’s too similar to another party’s mark and consumers are confused as to the source of goods and services, ’cause again, that’s what a trademark is. It indicates to people the source of goods and services. If the mark is too similar – and the way you judge how similar a mark is, is by the sound of the mark, the appearance of the mark, and the meaning of the mark. So just ’cause the mark’s spelled differently doesn’t mean that it’s gonna really be considered different because it sounds the same to the consumer. So you look at how similar are the marks, and consumers don’t always remember marks perfectly, so even if it’s a little bit different, if it’s pretty similar, that’s gonna be an issue.

And then you look at how similar are the goods and services. Are the goods and services related or so similar that a consumer would think that this good or service emanates from the same place as that other good and service? Trademark rights are limited to certain goods and services, so you can have Delta for use with faucets and Delta for use with airlines, and that’s not trademark infringement but if you had Delta for airlines and you had – somebody wanted a Delta transport for cargo services, that would be too close because airlines are also in the business of providing cargo services. So that’s an example of looking at how close are the marks, how close are the services, and that’s when infringement occurs.