Since I spent a whole with a couple of my friends at the shore two or so weeks ago, I've been learning more about different wines and trying to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to wines.
Today, I ventured out to my neighborhood wine and spirits store and on my way out, I saw this:
I'm referring to the Loft boxed wines here. Do these remind you of anything? How about now?
As a frequent shopper at the Ann Taylor Loft, I did a double take on the boxed wine and thought, "Wait, that looks really familiar." But of course, that was as far as I got. I figured out pretty easily that Loft wines were not associated with Loft apparel because the natures of the two types of goods were just way too different and it wouldn't make sense for Ann Taylor Loft to start producing and selling wines. And here, because it didn't confuse me, the average consumer, as to the source of either of the goods, I wouldn't say that there is likelihood of confusion and thus no trademark infringement.
But absent trademark infringement? what can you do about someone using the same logo as you? Well, trademark law by nature is not designed to prevent someone from copying your logo. It's really to prevent market place confusion (as I illustrated above). Now you might be thinking, "Well why don't I copyright my logos?" You're heading the right direction by thinking copyright now, but remember that copyright requires a certain amount of creativity so if your logo is not very embellished or ornamental you may run into a problem still. I would say that's the case with our Loft logo above, which is just "Loft" written in a simple font so it's probably safe to say that there wasn't a ton of creativity involved.
So all in all, there's not a ton you can do but I always say it's worth reaching out to the other party to put them on notice that identical logos are being used (especially if you're the senior user). And while there may be no marketplace confusion now, there may be one in the future, so think ahead and act defensively.