The MIIP takes a dim view of co-existence agreements between companies for similar or identical trademarks. But recent court decisions should give trademark owners hope. Eryck Castillo and Carolina Ponce explain.
These days, trademark owners find it increasingly difficult to choose a trademark that is free for use and registration. World commerce is more crowded, so trademark owners sometimes find that the names or signs they choose to distinguish their products or services are already in use by other parties. However, similar or identical trademarks can coexist as long as each continues to perform its main function: to distinguish the goods or services for which they are used from those of their competitors.
The registration of marks that are similar or identical to others has been permitted when the similarity does not confuse consumers into being unable to identify the relevant goods or services. Coexistence agreements support this, since they describe a situation in which two different enterprises use a similar or identical trademark to market a product or service without necessarily interfering with each other’s businesses.
MIIP, co-existence agreements, similar trademarks