Co-existence agreements work in the same way as approval agreements in relation to the weight they have given to the USPTO. The more detailed and restrictive the agreement, the more likely it is that the USPTO will maintain its validity and authorize the simultaneous use of trademarks. However, customer confusion can still invalidate an otherwise legitimate agreement, particularly in areas closely related to the public interest, such as public health.B. In addition to the USPTO`s assessment of co-existence agreements, it is likely that the courts will enter into a co-existence agreement that would have negative effects on competition in the market or be contrary to antitrust rules. A co-existence agreement is an agreement that regulates the use and registration of similar or identical trademarks for related products and services in the same or similar markets by two or more trademark holders. It allows the parties to set their own rules for the peaceful coexistence of trademarks, without the risk of confusion. This practice note contains practical guidance on trademark co-existence agreements, which specify when they could be used and on the main points to be taken into account in the development of these agreements. It also contains guidance on the key conditions to be included in coexistence agreements. It is designed to be used in addition to the previous one: the brand coexistence agreement and the brand coexistence agreement, the checklist. A trademark co-existence agreement can be used when holders of separate, similar or identical trademarks that may create confusion agree to clarify the circumstances under which the affected trademarks can be used and/or registered to reduce the risk of confusion, resolve disputes between them and/or avoid future litigation. The reason for this agreement is therefore that both parties define the conditions under which their trademarks can “co-exist” peacefully, without any of the parties arguing that their respective trademark rights would be violated. When registering a trademark, one of the essential rules is not to choose a mark that resembles an earlier mark. However, in the business and commercial world, two parties may use similar or identical brands to market their goods and services through coexistence agreements.
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the typical benefits and potential pitfalls of coexistence agreements. Co-existence agreements can be a simpler and less costly solution for trademark disputes between the parties, not disputes in appropriate circumstances.