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Idaho Common Law Trademark Protection

Idaho has a common law trademark law, Idaho Code § 48-516. In particular, I.C. § 48-516, titled Common Law Rights, states that “[n]othing herein shall adversely affect the rights or the enforcement of rights in marks acquired in good faith at any time at common law.” The upshot of this statute is that business owners do not have to formally register their trademark or service mark with the state of Idaho before getting some serious legal protections for the trademarks associated with their goods or services.

However, there are some substantial benefits of registration with the state of Idaho. Some of these additional benefits are found in I.C. § 48-514. In pertinent part, this statute states that a trademark owner “may proceed by suit to enjoin the manufacture, use, display or sale of any counterfeits or imitations thereof and . . .  [and may seek] injunctions to restrain such manufacture, use, display or sale as may be by the court deemed just and reasonable.” Further, defendants may have “to pay to such owner all profits derived from and all damages suffered by reason of such wrongful manufacture, use, display or sale.” It is comforting to know that this statute provides a remedy for “all damages” of infringing a trademark. Finally, a “court, in its discretion, may enter judgment for an amount not to exceed three (3) times such profits and damages and may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit to the prevailing party” but only in cases where a “court finds the other party committed the wrongful acts with knowledge or in bad faith or otherwise, as the circumstances of the case may warrant.”