- Trademark Confusion Can Exist Even if Products Not Identical
- March 13, 2008
- Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
Palantir.net brought suit alleging that Palantir Technologies infringed the former's rights in the PALANTIR trademark. The word "palantir" was not created by plaintiff, but instead by author J. R. R. Tolkien, and was a magical artifact in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Palantir.net began using the term in connection with its Web site design services in 1996, and obtained a federal registration in 2006. Palantir Technology began offering services under the names Palantir Government and Palantir Financial in 2005. According to Palantir Technology, it uses "existing software (slightly modified) to access data from diverse sources and assist the user in drawing connections between the data." Palantir.net sent a cease and desist letter to Palantir Technologies soon after learning of the company, and when Palantir Technologies did not cease use of the name, filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The court found that Palantir.net had demonstrated probable success on the merits of trademark infringement, and granted the motion.
TIP: When selecting a mark, look not only to others who may be using the identical term for identical services, but also for those using similar marks in related services where a likelihood of confusion might arise.