It’s an unfortunate familiar story: you have a great idea for a product or service, and you’ve thought of the perfect name! The domain name (or some variation of it) is available, so you grab it and away you go. A couple of years later, your business is really starting to take off, and you starting to grow your customer base and get more exposure. Then suddenly you are hit with a lawsuit by someone who says they own that name. Moreover, they can prove they have been using for longer than you have. Now instead of enjoying your new found success, you are faced with a costly rebranding.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Before your company has a misstep with intellectual property litigation, consider these tips for developing and protecting a brand:
Make it unique. While it’s tempting to choose a common name, these choices are often difficult to protect.
Conduct a thorough search. Just checking the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website may not be enough. While having a registered trademark offers added protection, a mark does not need to be registered to give its owner rights. Consider having a lawyer conduct a more in-depth search—while it may seem expensive now, it could save you thousands in litigation and rebranding fees down the road.
Register the name. As soon as you have cleared your name, register your trademarks quickly. Be sure the name is registered in all the classes that pertain to your business. You will need the assistance of a business attorney to do this properly.
Protect the brand. Set up a Google Alert on each of your trademarks so you will know if someone else is using your brand name. If you discover that someone has appropriated your brand name or a similar version, have a cease-and-desist letter sent immediately.
Build your business on a solid foundation. If you are interested in learning more about business asset protection strategies, call us today to schedule your comprehensive Business Protection Strategy Session™.