In a highly competitive marketplace, branding can be even more valuable than the actual product. If your company has worked to establish a trademark that signifies its reputation for quality, you must guard it zealously. Similarly, if yours is an emerging company looking to make a splash, you don’t want to be constrained unnecessarily in your marketing efforts. Our firm is here to help. Contact a knowledgeable New Jersey intellectual property litigation lawyer from Ingber Law Firm to learn more about what we can do for you.
Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer | Serving Clients in New Jersey
At The Ingber Law Firm, we represent plaintiff companies and defendants in disputes over trademark infringement. We have a thorough understanding of New Jersey and federal law, and the know-how to build a compelling case that protects your rights. If you are engaged in a dispute over a registered or unregistered trademark, an intellectual property litigation lawyer from our firm has the knowledge and experience to deliver optimal results.
We also have extensive experience representing clients who’ve either been accused of copyright infringement or who believe their copyright has been infringed upon. We understand that your work is unique and took a great deal of time and effort to create, and we are here to protect it. Speak with an Essex County, New Jersey intellectual property lawyer from our firm today.
Trademark Protection and Litigation
It is equally important to register a mark as it is to protect a mark. The Ingber Law Firm can assist you in opposing any attempts to register marks that are similar or identical to yours. If another party begins to use a mark that is so similar or identical causing trademark infringement our firm can assist you in litigating the claim. We also help clients to defend against claims of trademark infringement.
When assessing whether trademark infringement has been committed, courts consider a number of factors, including:
- The strength of the mark. Does the original mark have clear standing in the marketplace?
- The proximity of the goods. Are the goods of the same general type?
- The similarity of the marks. Do the marks appear similar?
- The evidence of actual confusion. Have consumers bought the second product believing it to be the first?
- The similarity of marketing channels used. Are the products sold or distributed in the same manner?
- The degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser. Is the consumer likely to make a casual purchase, or think twice before buying? The value of the item is a consideration for this factor.
- The defendant’s intent. Did the user of the allegedly infringing mark intend to deceive the public and unfairly take market share from its competitor?
The two major defenses to trademark infringement are fair use and parody. The fair use defense is viable when one company uses another’s descriptive trademark in good faith simply to describe a quality of its product and no consumer confusion results. Parody allows artistic and editorial use of a trademark if the use is not tied directly to commerce.
A defendant can also argue that the plaintiff lost the right to a trademark due to abandonment, improper licensing or assignment, or because the mark has become generic.
Damages Available for a Trademark Infringement Case
In a successful trademark infringement lawsuit, the plaintiff company could receive a number of remedies, including:
- Defendant’s profits. If the established brand does not show losses, it may still have been damaged by sales that wrongfully went to the infringing brand.
- Damages sustained by the plaintiff. If the plaintiff has lost sales, the court could order the infringing company to compensate for the drop-off.
- Costs of the action. The defendant must pay for the plaintiff’s attorney fees and court costs.
- Injunctive relief. The court shall order the infringing company to discontinue the use of the offending trademark.
A court may order treble damages if the plaintiff proves bad faith, such as a deliberate attempt to deceive the public. If you would like to discuss these or any other intellectual property concerns, we encourage you to reach out to an experienced New Jersey intellectual property litigation lawyer from our firm today.
Copyright Infringement Litigation
No matter how scrupulously an artist tries to protect a created work, infringements happen. Especially today, when there are so many tools for appropriating content, artists must be vigilant and outlets for creative content must exercise due diligence to stay on the right side of the law. However, when an infringement is alleged, it is not good for either party. The creator’s work can be devalued even while actual damages are impossible to ascertain, and the alleged infringer of the property could face crippling statutory penalties.
The Ingber Law Firm has extensive experience on both sides of the issue, protecting creators’ copyrighted work and defending users from allegations of infringement. We implement proven strategies to resolve disputes in our client’s favor. Often we are able to negotiate a mutually beneficial licensing agreement. However, when litigation is necessary, we dedicate our skill and resources to protecting our client’s interests in state or federal court.
Common Defenses to Allegations of Copyright Infringement
As legal representatives for creators and users of creative content, we fully understand how to prosecute a case or defend an alleged infringement. Defenses that are available include:
- Invalid copyright. The defendant asserts that the work is not original, lacks copyrightable subject matter, or that the plaintiff does not own the copyright.
- Public domain. If the contents of the work are in the public domain, the plaintiff cannot claim copyright.
- Court has no jurisdiction. The copyright was not properly registered.
- Independent creation. The alleged infringer created a substantially similar work without any knowledge of the plaintiff’s creation.
- Permissible copying. Use of protected content is de minimis, or the portion that was copied is not protectable material.
- Fair use. Many uses of copyrighted material are protected, such as quoting sections of a book or visually presenting an artwork as part of a critique or news story.
- Statute of limitations. An artist cannot bring a civil action after three years from the time of the infringement.
- Permission. The owner of the copyright may have granted permission or licensed use of the work.
Often there is no valid defense for a user’s appropriation of created material. But that doesn’t necessarily make the case easier to resolve. Getting the parties to agree on the appropriate remedy, or getting the court to order one, is often difficult. That’s where our experience on both sides of the issue is particularly valuable.
Remedies for Copyright Infringement
The federal Copyright Act provides the following remedies for an infringement of a protected work:
- Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
- The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
- Infringer pays for all attorney fees and court costs.
- The court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
- The court can impound the illegal works.
- The infringer can go to jail.
Plaintiff artists often find it difficult to prove actual damages. The wide range of statutory damages makes an adverse court ruling highly probable. Under these circumstances, we have often found that the best resolution is a negotiated licensing agreement that allows the plaintiff to monetize the creation and relieves the defendant from possible harsh statutory penalties.
Contact an Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer Today
Creators and users of copyrighted and trademarked materials need strong advocacy. The Ingber Law Firm offers proven strategies for achieving beneficial resolutions for infringement disputes. Contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Livingston, New Jersey office.