Intellectual Property Law: Your Guide to Trademark Dilution Claims

Trademark infringement occurs when an unauthorized party uses a mark or symbol in a manner that is likely to confuse reasonable consumers regarding the source of goods or services. Though, an infringement lawsuit is not the only type of trademark action that is available under U.S. law.

Beyond infringement, companies may also be able to protect their brand through a trademark dilution claim. A trademark dilution lawsuit allows trademark holders to take action to stop other parties from using their ‘mark’ in a way that would reduce its uniqueness or tarnish it – even though it might not cause confusion in the minds of consumers.

If you are considering bringing a trademark dilution claim or if a trademark dilution lawsuit has been filed against your company, you should seek professional representation. An intellectual property lawyer representing businesses in Chicago can help protect your rights.

What are the Required Elements of a Trademark Dilution Claim?

The Trademark Dilution Revision Act (TDRA) is a 2006 federal law that allows businesses to take action to preserve the underlying value of their trademark. In order to bring a successful trademark dilution claim under the TDRA, an Illinois business must establish the following:

  1. The trademark in question was distinctive enough to warrant legal protection;
  2. The plaintiff actually used the trademark for a valid commercial purpose;
  3. The defendant used the ‘diluting’ mark after the plaintiff’s trademark was already known; and
  4. The plaintiff suffered actual brand damage as a result of the trademark dilution.

Notably, trademark dilution claims typically fit into one of two categories: blurring and tarnishment.

Blurring is the more common form of trademark dilution. It occurs when another company uses a protected mark in a manner that impacts the value of the plaintiff’s brand – but does not create customer confusion.

Tarnishment, the less common form of trademark dilution, occurs when another party associates a company’s brand with offensive or otherwise problematic conduct, products, or content.

Businesses Need to Take Immediate Action to Protect Intellectual Property Rights

As was mentioned, trademark dilution is closely related to trademark infringement. Still, it is a distinct legal claim. In some cases, businesses may have both infringement and dilution claims.

With any intellectual property issue, it is crucial companies take immediate action. If you fail to file a trademark dilution action within the appropriate amount of time, you may lose your ability to do so. Our Chicago intellectual property lawyers can help protect the rights and interests of your business.

Speak to Our Chicago, IL Trademark Law Attorneys Today

At North Suburban Legal Services LLC, we provide strong, effective legal guidance to companies throughout Illinois. Our Chicago intellectual property lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle the complete range of trademark dilution claims. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation, please call us at (312) 909-6089 or contact us through our website. We represent companies in Chicago, Cook County, and throughout the surrounding communities.

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