When Christine Palmerton launched a brand called “NautiGirl” in 2008, she was simply printing the image of a blue-haired young woman at the wheel of a ship on items like mugs, baseball caps, and boating-related products and accessories. Ms. Palmerton’s niche market – female boaters – was narrow, but Ms. Palmerton, the owner of a yacht charter company, enjoyed the work. She established a website, promoted her brand at trade shows, and filed a brand application for the blue-haired “NautiGirl” logo. In 2013, Ms. Palmerton was sued for brand infringement by Nautica, a brand owned by VF Corporation of Greensboro, North Carolina. Ms. Palmerton fought back.
A logo is defined as any word, phrase, or graphic used to distinguish one company’s goods or services from other companies. When you register a brand, you can take legal action to stop others from “infringing” on it with a similar word, phrase, or graphic. In central Florida, when you register a trademark, or if you become part of a legal logo dispute, obtain the legal assistance you need by contacting an experienced Daytona Beach small business lawyer. Trademarks for interstate and international commerce should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Let an experienced small business attorney help.
After a nearly three-year fight before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Ms. Palmerton prevailed over Nautica, and the effort to stop her from using her logo was dismissed. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board determined that Nautica doesn’t control the ocean-themed prefix “Nauti-.” Trademark law protects small businesses like Ms. Palmerton’s, and Nautica failed to prove that the “NautiGirl” trademark infringed on the Nautica logo. If you are using a name, a phrase, or a logo or some other design as a logo, get the legal protection that logo needs, and arrange to discuss trademark registration as quickly as possible with an experienced Daytona Beach small business lawyer.