Q: Am I infringing on a word mark using THIS name?
My brother and I own a vineyard / winery in PA (Jackson Winery -- name has been changed to protect the innocent / guilty). We received a warning from 'Jackson Winery' in Washington State that we must stop using their trademarked name (we checked with the USPTO; they do own the word mark). Would we be able to call ourselves 'Jackson Brothers Winery' or 'Jackson Brothers Vineyard' without running amok of the trademark?
A: The answer to this question may depend on how long you have been using the mark in commerce. Although this other winery may have a registered trademark (you refer to the "word" mark), this fact alone does not completely answer the question. If your use of the name predates their use and/or the date they received their federal registration, you may have superior rights in your be able to continue using the mark - although it may be in a limited geography. Any use that you made prior to their mark becoming registered may have developed "common law" rights and, may be effective even after their registration was issued.
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