Trademark Laws: Lanham Act
The Lanham Act is a U.S. Federal Statute that covers trademark laws concerning trademark registration and trademark infringement actions. The purpose of the act is to provide for registration and protection of trademarks that are used in commerce. This act was passed by the power granted to Congress through way of Article I, §8, Clause 3 of the Constitution; also known as The Commerce Clause. This means that a claim arising under the Lanham Act must have contact with interstate commerce. For example, a trademark must be used in interstate commerce before it may be registered federally, and an infringer must commit the infringing acts affecting such commerce before they become actionable under the Lanham Act.
What constitutes use in commerce? The Trademark Act defines “use in commerce” as “the bona fide use of a mark in the ordinary course of trade, and not made merely to reserve a right in a mark.” Sales made in a good faith effort to develop a business should be sufficient. However, token use made solely to reserve a right in a mark is not enough to show use in commerce.
There are many key sections to the Lanham Act that are important for trademark owners to be aware of: