NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson has been making national news headlines lately, and not just for his plays on the field. Watson is being sued by a photographer who alleges that the football player had no permission to use the photographs he took.
There are several intellectual property tools that entrepreneurs can utilize to protect their creative or business assets. Protections granted by intellectual property remains in effect for various amounts of time after being awarded them.
The damage caused by trademark infringement does not always completely encompass a hit in direct sales. In fact, every sale that someone makes while using a trademarked image or logo is a sale that you may be losing if that customer believed they were actually buying from you. However, trademark infringement damage can go even deeper than that.
Target, one of the biggest and most popular big-box store in the country is facing a lawsuit from a small business owner. Emily Golub, an entrepreneur from Georgia, accuses Target of infringing her trademark through the launch of its Good & Gather food brand in September 2019. Golub is the owner of Garnish & Gather, an Atlanta-based company that promotes local foods, meal kits, and prepared items developed by local chefs. She says that the name of Target's line is too similar to that of her company and could lead to serious confusion in terms of brand recognition among consumers. Golub's complaint against Target seeks a temporary restraining order to prohibit the sale of food and beverage products bearing the Good & Gather label.
Many people enjoy connecting their mobile phones and other devices to the entertainment system in their vehicles through an onboard connector or, more frequently, a Bluetooth connection. However, Blitzsafe Texas has filed 15 lawsuits within four years claiming that major automobile manufacturers are infringing on its patents for technology that does exactly that. Blitzsafe Texas is headquartered in the town of Marshall, a community that is perhaps best-known as the location where one of the greatest numbers of patent infringement lawsuits are filed in the country. After the Supreme Court ruled that patent-infringement plaintiffs could not simply choose the venue where their cases are filed, some firms with many cases moved there, qualifying them to select that venue.
Outdoor enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that Backcountry.com is facing heavy public backlash for filing a series of lawsuits against other businesses with similar names. The retail giant trademarked the word "backcountry" in 2018 to protect its new line of outdoor clothing and equipment.
California native singer Katy Perry is known around the world for her catchy, pop-oriented tunes. However, she is now involved in several intellectual property disputes in both the United States and Australia. An Australian fashion designer named Katie Perry is suing the singer for launching her own clothing line in Australia, claiming that she owns the trademark on the term "Katie Perry" for clothing sold in Australia. Katie Perry claims that the singer's stage name, Katy Perry, could easily be confused with her brand within the market, and that the singer is infringing her trademark.
Many iconic brands are associated with a specific color scheme, which becomes part of the business's or product's image. As a result, these companies may feel it is prudent to protect a specific color to prevent competitors from using it to mislead consumers. This legal tactic has had varying levels of success, as explained by Business Insider.
If you discover that your valuable intellectual property has been stolen, it's crucial that you take the right steps in a timely manner. These crimes can have a significant impact on your business and its profitability. Fortunately, there are avenues available that allow you to report issues and pursue the perpetrators that you believe breached your sensitive data. The U.S. Department of Justice recommends the following steps if you or your business is a victim of intellectual property theft.