In a recent case of alleged copyright infringement, New York City street artist James De La Vega directed a cease-and-desist notification at Apple Inc. The letter alleges that the corporation is using his trademarked property in their new iPhone 5s ad campaign. De La Vega claims rights to Apple’s newly adopted “you’re more powerful than you think” slogan promoting asserting that he has been using his slogan “you are more powerful than you think” in his works for over a decade.
De La Vega’s “Become Your Dreams” series of graffiti themed pieces were featured in a variety of fashion campaigns throughout 2011, using the aforementioned phrase. While the slogans differ grammatically, Apple’s utilizes a contraction of “you are,” his attorney claimed that the slogan is protected under U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) common law trademark rights.
Common law trademark rights are afforded by the USPTO protecting individual and businesses intellectual property from unauthorized usage and improper distribution. According to the USPTO, federal registration is not required to establish trademark rights of a word, phrase, symbol, design or combination there-of. Many trademark rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the property owner to challenge the use of that property by other entities. Common law trademarks can be challenging to navigate as many of them are unregistered and therefore will often fail to appear in trademark investigations. Federally registering your trademark properties allows for better regulation and protection of those intellectual assets.
While trademark and intellectual property infringement is often unintentional, it presents an increasing problem for many businesses in the manufacturing industry. Full investigations into state and federal trademark registration archives may not always prevent infringement. Unregistered trademarked property is often harder to cross reference, leaving companies in a vulnerable position. While the USPTO offers many tools for entities to research current trademarks to help prevent businesses from facing trademark infringement allegations, these resources are not all-encompassing.
Unintentional trademark and copyright infringement can pose a serious liability risk for New Jersey technology companies. Many entities will inevitably face legal complications associated with allegations brought against them. Obtaining a comprehensive Trenton NJ Errors and Omissions policy for your organization can ensure that the financial burdens of alleged intellectual property infringement will be eased.
At Tri-State Insurance Agency we specialize in creating complete Trenton Manufacturing Insurance policies specially tailored to our clients’ needs. We insure manufacturers of all types with customized risk management solutions ranging from Trenton Errors and Omissions Insurance to New Jersey Workers Comp coverage. Give us a call today at (888) 990-0526 to find out more about how we can help protect your organization.