Many businesses use trademarks to help distinguish themselves from competitors in the marketplace. Should another party infringe on your trademark, you might have to litigate them to stop the infringement. But if you want to protect your trademark, you want people to easily tell your mark from those owned by other companies.
You might have problems if your mark is not easily distinguishable from others. For one thing, a court might not protect your mark. You could also run into legal problems if another company litigates you on the grounds that your mark infringes on theirs. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) explains different ways people may confuse trademarks.
Many businesses trademark a word or a phrase. If another company uses the same word or phrase as your mark, you might have trouble making your mark distinguishable from that of the other company. You might think your mark will be fine if it uses a different font or design from the other mark. However, the USPTO states that a different font is not enough to distinguish trademarks consisting of the same word or phrase.
Even if your mark possesses a word or slogan that no one is currently using, you might still have problems if your mark sounds identical or similar to another trademarked phrase. Marks that sound phonetically similar might cause confusion. This can happen even if your word or phrase has a different spelling than the trademark of another company.
This is an area businesses may run into trouble without knowing it. You might have a trademarked word or phrase that does not conflict with other marks, as long as your mark is in English. The use of trademarks for words in other languages means that a company may use the same word or phrase as your company, just in another language. If translated into English, the other company may have an identical trademark to your own, which could still cause confusion as to who holds the sole right to use the trademark.