Call Today for a FREE Consultation

Unmatched Experience
Solving the Legal and Business Issues Faced by Our Clients

Trademark dilution is a type of infringement

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Trademark Law

If someone duplicates a logo, image, name or something else you’ve trademarked without your consent, it can be relatively easy to hold them liable for trademark infringement. However, it’s often not so clear-cut. 

Many cases involve what’s called “trademark dilution.” There are two types of trademark dilution recognized under U.S. intellectual property law.


Dilution by blurring is the more common type. “Blurring” occurs when someone uses something similar enough to a trademarked item that consumers may easily think it’s your product, service or brand, or at least affiliated with it. 

If your trademark has been blurred, you may lose business because consumers mistakenly buy the other product or service rather than yours – especially if it’s cheaper. If the other product or service is defective or inferior, consumers will blame you, which can also cause you financial harm. Blurring can also cause harm simply by making a brand less unique and consequently less valuable.

Some companies are quick to threaten legal action for trademark infringement over remote cases of blurring. For example, Apple, Inc. isn’t hesitant to threaten legal action against businesses, entrepreneurs and even non-profits with far fewer resources over the use of apples in their branding, even when there’s little resemblance to their iconic logo and when they’re in no way competitors.

Trademark tarnishment 

This is a less common form of trademark dilution. However, it can potentially be just as harmful to a business. It involves using an image or other branding similar to that of another business for a purpose that’s at odds with their brand.

For example, say your children’s publishing company’s logo is a drawing of a little girl and her dog. If a company that makes adult toys uses a very similar image on their packaging, causing consumers to think you’ve given your permission or are somehow associated with the products, that could be considered trademark tarnishment. 

Determining whether a trademark has been blurred or tarnished can be highly subjective. If it goes to court, a judge will have to decide. Most of these cases are able to be settled by the parties involved without having to go to court. 

Whichever side of the matter you’re on, it’s critical not to try to handle it on your own. Trademark infringement laws are highly complex. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the better your chances are of prevailing – in or out of court.