There are three primary types of trade mark infringement in the UK that are cited in 1994’s Trade Marks Act. Violation of any of these can result in a penalty for the unauthorised third party. Acts which are considered to be a violation include:
- Fixing the sign onto packaging or goods
- Supplying services or selling goods under the trademarked sign
- Exporting or exporting goods under that sign
- Using that sign on promotional materials
The Use Of Identical Marks On Like-For-Like Services And Goods
Section 10 (1) of the Trade Marks Act cites that any unauthorised third party use of a mark which is identical to an already registered trademark on a like-for-like service or product is an infringement. In such cases, the mark has to have been reproduced without any modifications. Minor modifications that would be unnoticeable from the perspective of the average consumer are considered to be identical for trade mark violation purposes.
The Use Of Identical Marks On Similar Services And Goods
In Section 10 (2) (a) and (b) of the Trade Marks Act it is cited that the use of identical registered trade marks by an unauthorised third party on similar services or goods or, alternatively, the use of a trade mark which is very similar to a registered mark on similar or identical services and goods is considered to be an infringement when confusion is caused as to the services or goods’ origin.
The Use Of Similar Or Identical Trade Marks On Services Or Goods Which Aren’t Similar
Under Section 10 (3) of the Trade Marks Act, it is also considered to be an infringement if unauthorised third parties use a similar or identical trade mark on services or goods which aren’t similar and, thus, benefit from that registered trade mark’s pre-existing reputation to gain unfair advantage in the marketplace.
Using Signs In The “Course of Trade”
There is one further type of infringement when it comes to trade marks. If a trade mark already has an existing reputation but its trademarked sign is then used in relation to services or goods which are similar or identical to that trade mark in order to gain unfair advantages over competitors to the registered trade mark’s detriment this is known as being used in the “course of trade” and is also an infringement of the law.