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Passing off as a Legal Concept

Passing Off

Passing off is a common law concept. It refers to the misrepresentation of the goods or services one is offering as coming from another party. This false impression is created through use of another provider's recognizable trademark, either by the production of an identical copy, or a closely comparable mark.

The charge that passing off has occurred differs from the charge of trademark infringement in that it is not prosecuted according to statute, but, as is the nature of common law, according to the precedent of past judicial decisions. It may be used with particular relevance in regard to cases involving the claimed infringement of a trademark which is known to the relevant market, but is not officially registered under law. Passing off law exists as a tort, which may be dealt with by the bringing of a civil suit.

The concept of passing off is designed to prevent consumers of a good or service from being misrepresented as to the provenance of their acquisition. Rather than the observance of formal restrictions involved in the consideration of statutory cases of trademark infringement

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