Willful Infringement of Trademark Law and Legal Definition

Willful infringement of trademark occurs when the user of a mark knows or should have known that the mark was already being used by another. The difference between a willful infringer and an innocent infringer is that while a willful infringer is liable for monetary damages, an innocent infringer can only be forced to stop using the mark. Willful infringement is presumed when the mark that is infringed is federally registered. This presumption is rebuttable. Additionally, the user of a mark can be deemed to be a willful infringer if they fail to conduct a reasonable search of existing similar trademarks before adopting a mark.