Many companies work very hard to develop a unique “brand” for their businesses through the prominent and consistent use of a business name, brand name, slogan, or logo that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. These words, phrases, or symbols are called trademarks, and they are very important because this is how consumers typically identify and remember the source of a product or service.
The development and implementation of a brand can also be a very expensive endeavor. The LAST thing that you want to do is go through the long and expensive process of developing and implementing your brand, only to find out, after you’ve revealed your labor of love to the marketplace, that you have to stop using it because it is infringing on another business’s trademark.
Trademark infringement exists when a trademark is confusingly similar to another trademark that is already used in commerce in connection with related goods or services. If your trademark is likely to be confused with an existing trademark – at a minimum, you will have to stop using the trademark and change your company or brand name after you have already launched in the marketplace – putting you in a position to invest another considerable amount of time and money into a re-branding effort. You may also be legally responsible to pay substantial damages if your trademark is held to be infringing.
This is why, although often overlooked, a Trademark Infringement Search should be the very next step in the process once the “trademark of your dreams” (name, slogan, logo, etc.) has been identified. Although it serves other purposes as well, the primary reasons to conduct an infringement search are to ensure that you are able to use your trademark in commerce and that, if desired, you are able to register your trademark with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (link to https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks) and gain nationwide protection.
We find that most clients easily determine that the kind of business disruption and expense described above, not to mention the resulting confusion to your customers, is not worth the relatively minor expense of conducting an infringement search at the outset.
To learn more about trademarks and trademark infringement searching, please contact McCarty Law’s Trademark & Intellectual Property Lawyers.
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