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Trademark dilution is a trademark cause of action to forbid the use of famous marks in a way that would lessen the mark’s uniqueness or distinctiveness, notwithstanding an absence of competition or the absence of confusion as to the source of goods or service. Dilution is a basis of trademark infringement that only applies to famous marks.

A search of almost any trademark on the U.S. Patent & Trademark webpage will show that the same mark is owned by different people. A trademark registration application will be allowed even though the mark is already registered if the goods associated with the mark are in different classifications and therefore do not compete for the same customers, and there is no likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods. That’s why Domino’s pizza and Domino sugar coexist.

In order to show infringement as to non famous marks the owner of the mark must prove that the use creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the product or service. In a case between two non-famous marks, it is difficult to prove that a likelihood of confusion exists if the products or services are sold in unrelated markets. However with famous marks, any use of the mark has the potential for confusion since a famous mark is so well-known by the general public that consumers will be confused as to the source of the goods even though the product or service is being sold in a completely different market from the famous mark.

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