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NJ Intellectual Property Attorneys Defend Those Accused of Infringement

Skilled IP lawyers represent businesses and individuals in Bedminster

In a highly competitive marketplace, established companies use a variety of means to suppress emerging brands that threaten their market share. One of these tactics is a lawsuit for intellectual property infringement. Ernest D. Buff & Associates represents defendant companies in disputes over trademark, copyright and patent infringement. Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of NJ and federal law and know how to build a compelling case that protects your rights. If you are engaged in a dispute over intellectual property, we have the knowledge and experience to craft an optimal defense.

Trademark infringement and viable defenses

Infringement occurs when a company uses a mark that is similar enough to a protected trademark that the new mark is likely to cause confusion among the consuming public. Trademark infringement suits attempt to strip a company of its right to use its logo, tagline, brand name or other identifier, and even press for monetary damages. Courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • The strength of the mark. Does the original mark have clear standing in the marketplace?
  • The similarity of the marks. Do the marks appear similar?
  • Evidence of actual confusion. Have consumers bought the second product believing it to be the first?
  • Your intent. Did you intend to deceive the public, and unfairly take market share from your competitor?

The two major defenses to trademark infringement are fair use and parody. The fair use defense is viable when one company uses another’s descriptive trademark in good faith simply to describe a quality of its product and no consumer confusion results. Parody allows artistic and editorial use of a trademark if the use is not tied directly to commerce.

A defendant can also argue that the plaintiff lost the right to a trademark due to abandonment, improper licensing or assignment, or because the mark has become generic.

If your company is found to have committed trademark infringement, you face crushing liability that could cost you any profits you’ve made and force you to indemnify your competitor’s losses. If the court finds you acted in bad faith, such as deliberately attempting to deceive the public, it can order treble damages.

Understanding copyright infringement defense

With the amount of content that exists today, it is easy to create something that appears to be copied from or inspired by someone else’s work. Both online and in print, outlets for creative content must exercise due diligence to stay on the right side of the law. Often we are able to negotiate a mutually beneficial licensing agreement. However, when litigation is necessary, we dedicate our skill and resources to defending our client’s interests in state or federal court. As legal representatives for creators and users of creative content, we fully understand how to defend our clients against an allegation of infringement. Defenses include:

  • Invalid copyright. The defendant asserts that the work is not original, lacks copyrightable subject matter, or that the plaintiff does not own the copyright.
  • Public domain. If contents of the work are in the public domain, the plaintiff cannot claim copyright.
  • Independent creation. The alleged infringer created a substantially similar work without any knowledge of the plaintiff’s creation.
  • Permissible copying. Use of protected content is de minimis, or the portion that was copied is not protectable material.
  • Fair use. Many uses of copyrighted material are protected, such as quoting sections of a book or visually presenting an artwork as part of a critique or news story.

Our legal team will work to assert any relevant defenses in your infringement case. When no affirmative defense can be presented, we have often found that the best resolution is a negotiated licensing agreement that allows the plaintiff to monetize the creation and relieves the defendant from possible harsh statutory penalties.

Defending those accused of patent infringement

If another person or company attempts to bring a claim for patent infringement, we work to prove that the plaintiff’s patent is invalid. This can be done by proving that their invention was not novel, that the claims in the patent were obvious or that they waited too long to file after disclosing or selling the invention. Our attorneys may also use other defenses such as patent misuse, inequitable conduct or estoppel.

Contact a dependable intellectual property litigation attorney in NJ

Ernest D. Buff & Associates provides quality legal representation to defendant companies in IP infringement disputes. Our cost-effective litigation services benefit clients throughout Somerset. To schedule a consultation, call Ernest D. Buff & Associates at
908-901-0220 or contact our firm online.