April 01, 2014

What's in a Company's Name? Jared Briant Discusses the Importance of Understanding Trademark Protections in Law Week Colorado

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled on trademark infringement case involving Hornady Manufacturing and competitor, Doubletap. Hornady, who manufactures a line of ammunition called TAP, which stands for Tactical Application Police, charged that Doubletap, a competitor company, infringed on trademark protections by using "tap" in their name. Using a six-factor test to determine the plausibility of consumer confusion, the judge ruled in favor of Doubletap, granting their request for a summary judgment. One of multiple reasons being that the packaging for both products was significantly different—making it less likely to cause consumer confusion.

Faegre Baker Daniels intellectual property partner, Jared Briant explained to Law Week Colorado that companies "really have to be cognizant of the consumer experience" when bringing infringement claims against competitors. He said it's important for companies to remember that simply because they trademark a name, they're not entitled to exclusive rights to every use of the word. Further, he detailed that companies must remember that consumers view a product in a context of the overall packaging, therefore, product names will not be viewed in separation in infringement cases.

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