Ed Weisz, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Intellectual Property department, discussed in Cannabis Dispensary Magazine about the trademark infringement disputes of Citigroup and a California cannabis dispensary called Citidank. There’s no reasonable assumption that a consumer would confuse Citidank for a banking institution. For years in the United States, traditional trademark infringement required a likelihood of such confusion. That remains the bedrock of trademark infringement disputes. In 1995, though, regulations loosened. The Federal Trademark Dilution Act stated that entities holding “famous” trademarks could rest an infringement claim on the “likely” dilution of their mark. According to the law, dilution can occur when another entity “tarnishes” or “blurs” the original trademark’s distinctiveness — if that original mark is sufficiently reputable. Citigroup, being an American banking titan, satisfies that requirement, according to Ed. “There’s no likelihood of confusion, because the goods are different, the services are different,” Weisz says. “No consumer in their right mind would be confused. … But still, because of tarnishment or because [the new brand may affect] the reputation of the famous mark, those are still causes of action now under the trademark law.”
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