Not so long ago, U.S. law promoted willful ignorance. At least when it came to trademark searches.
Willful ignorance (i.e., the failure to conduct a complete trademark search before using a mark in commerce [FOOTNOTE 1]) could serve as a substantial defense to a finding of willful, as opposed to negligent, trademark infringement. Ignorant parties were often protected from the increased penalties for willfully infringing a mark: an award of the infringer’s profits, which could be trebled, and attorneys’ fees.
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