Under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act, a plaintiff can make a claim against defendant if the plaintiff proves (1) that the plaintiff's mark is famous; (2) that the defendant is making commercial use of the trademark in commerce; (3) that the defendant's use of the trademark began after the trademark was already famous; and (4) the defendant's use of the trademark dilutes the quality of the mark, such as by diminishing the capacity of the mark to identify and distinguish goods. This diluting could be achieved by tarnishment of the trademark, or blurring and causing confusion by placing it on incompatible goods. Parodies are often contested under the Dilution Act since plaintiffs often see parody as a tarnishment of their trademark.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
When a famous trademark or service mark is used in a context in which the mark's reputation for quality is tarnished or its distinction is blurred. For example, the use of the word Candyland for a pornographic site on the Internet diluted the reputation of the Candyland mark for the well-known children's game, even though the traditional basis for trademark infringement (probable customer confusion) wasn't an issue.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:14 pm