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Preventing consumer confusion

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Intellectual Property

When it comes to intellectual property law, it’s important to remember that there is often one main goal: preventing consumer confusion. In order for consumers to make fair and accurate decisions about how they want to spend their money and what they want to buy, they need to be able to make an accurate assessment. Confusion can make this impossible or may even manipulate those consumers.

For example, this is why businesses often cannot have similar names unless a few different stipulations apply. If two companies had virtually identical names, consumers may not know which one they were dealing with when making a purchase. This would be unfair to them and could even be done intentionally to manipulate sales figures.

Different industries

If businesses are in vastly different industries, then they are sometimes allowed to use similar names. One business might be a local hardware store, while the other is an international clothing retailer. These are so different that, even if the names were relatively similar, consumers would not buy products from one, thinking that they were purchasing from the other.

Different geographical locations

Another example is that businesses may be allowed to operate under similar names if they have much different physical locations. Businesses in different states may use similar names, for instance – although it is worth pointing out that the internet has changed this somewhat, making it easier for confusion to occur across state lines because consumers are finding businesses online.

It’s important for business owners to know exactly what rules to follow and what legal steps to take regarding intellectual property protections.