What is trademark dilution

Trademark dilution is the term given where a famous or well-known trademark becomes more familiar in the public arena, and essentially loses its unique appeal due to over-usage of the mark by third parties. Owners of popular marks have the right to restrict third parties from using the mark in a bid to prevent the mark’s uniqueness and market value being lessened. This area of trademark law is relatively ambiguous and complex to understand, and so it is important to enlist the services of a professional consultancy firm if you wish to learn more about your dilution rights.

Trademark dilution explained

Many times, trademark dilution occurs where a third party uses another person’s registered mark without permission, on a product that is in no way related to that of the legal trademark owner. An effective example of dilution is where one company uses the mark of a food brand for the advertising of its breakfast cereals, thus diluting the uniqueness of the original mark and its brand identity as a food brand.

Famous marks are at risk of trademark dilution and the law recognizes this, however, for non-famous marks, the owner must show the infringing party is creating confusion as to the source of the infringing product. In other words, in order to take action against trademark dilution, the owner of the mark is obliged to prove the infringing party using the mark will cause uncertainty to the public as to the original source of product represented by the mark.

Trademark law is broad in scope and extends to dilution. It provides that where a mark loses its distinctiveness because of the mark being used by third parties, this will e considered a case of dilution.

Trademark dilution includes:

  • Genericide
  • Blurring
  • Tarnishment

Trademark dilution is detrimental to both consumers and companies as using a trademark for another product can confuse the consumer greatly and damage the brand identity and image of a company.