A growing number of brands in California are facing a wide range of problems regarding trademark infringement. For example, these problems can come from competitor companies using confusingly similar names for their products or through the direct counterfeiting of goods. In 2019, the vast majority of companies dealt with some kind of infringement. In fact, 85% of brands reported some type of trademark problems in 2019. This was greater than previous years with 81% reporting trademark infringement in 2018 and 74% in 2017.
According to a survey report authored by a trademark research company, there were a wide range of problems suffered by companies targeted for trademark infringement. The companies that participated in the survey placed a heavy emphasis on legal response with up to 75% reporting that infringement cases led to some legal actions or even litigation. 45% of companies were most concerned with customer confusion. Consumer confusion can lead to loss of revenue even when traditional competitors infringe, but it can be especially damaging when counterfeiters do so. Over one-third of study participants said that they were concerned by potential damage to their brand reputation, which can be caused by consumers incorrectly believing that cheap counterfeits with poor quality items and dangerous ingredients are the real deal.
Nearly half of the company respondents said that they had to do some form of rebranding as a result of trademark issues. In many cases, a companies’ online presence was targeted, with 44% of brands reporting infringed domain names designed to draw traffic from a legitimate site and 38% reporting falsely branded products being sold on online marketplaces.
The global online marketplace may make counterfeiting and other forms of trademark infringement more difficult to track down and stop. An intellectual property attorney may provide advice and representation for businesses that want to better protect their trademarks.