It is almost election time in the Netherlands. As we have seen last year election results are difficult to predict but we do hope that the ‘positive’ voice will win. At the end, co-operation is the key.
We will have winners and losers, but the elections already caused one victim: an institution for mental health called Denk (Think) has changed its name as a political party adopted this name two years ago. While this political party changed its logo after an objection, the institution eventually decided to choose a new name as the confusion was present every day.
Although we do not know the exact details of the case and we also do not know whether a lawsuit would have any chance, this case shows us the limitations of a trademark registration. A trademark owner obtains an exclusive right for certain products and services. This does not mean that the trademark holder owns the name. And while form a legal point of view there is no risk of confusion, the simple fact that a younger trademark has a reputation can cause for some communication confusion itself, i.e. e-mails are sent to the wrong address etc. Bad luck can effect your trademark.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”