When designing trademarks, the organization has a responsibility to ensure that the new mark is not infringing on an existing mark. There was a case in 1998 where Tommy Hilfiger was assessed for damages on the “Star Class” trademark. Hilfiger had his attorney perform a search of federally registered marks, but failed to search state and common marks. This lead to damages as Hilfiger was not shown to have performed due diligence in the duty to search. New trademarks – whether it is a product name, service name, slogan, domain name, or other initiative – should be thoroughly researched to ensure that there is not a use in the federal or state registration systems, or in the commons.
When reusing another organization’s trademark, reasonable effort should be put forward to use the exact mark and include the ™ trademark symbol as appropriate. Many firms have restrictions on how their logo and mark can be used (for example, on a partner’s website or a business card.) These restrictions must be researched and understood. In doing so, an organization can avoid accidental misuse of another firm’s IP.Posted by