TOWSON, Md., Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Start-up companies begin to create value by building the name of their company, product or service. Businesses, however, should avoid being identified with a company, product, or service name until a trademark search is conducted. Companies should perform trademark searches before naming their business, product, or service, all in order to avoid costly conflicts later on.
Pamela Riewerts is a patent attorney with Bowie & Jensen, a leading business law firm in Towson, Maryland. Ms. Riewerts practices in the firm's litigation and intellectual property group. She has experience in patent, trademark, copyright and related litigation and joined Bowie & Jensen after handling complex business and corporate litigation matters for large New York City and Washington, D.C. firms. She also served as private intellectual property counsel for several established businesses. Her work included conducting trademark clearance and infringement investigations, coordinating enforcement efforts on behalf of clients, reviewing marketing materials and editorial publications for trademark compliance, and drafting non-disclosure and non-compete agreements designed to protect a client's trade secrets.
Ms. Riewerts explains that the name of a business, product or service may be considered a trademark depending on how it is used. Trademarks identify the source of the goods and services put in interstate commerce. A registered trademark puts others on notice that your business is declaring exclusive rights in your mark. If another company uses the same or similar business, product or service name or logo, your having a federal registered mark can prevent that other company from unauthorized use of your mark.
Business owners need the strategic foresight to protect their intellectual property including trademarks. In evaluating your business needs, do not overlook your future business potential. While trademark protection may not be necessary in certain cases, over the years, business needs may evolve and change. Your business may move in an alternate direction, relocate or expand the geographic client base.
Trademark protection can be established even before you begin use of the mark in combination with your goods or services in commerce. Typically, the date of protection revolves around the filing of a trademark application and plays a key role in establishing the time when your business can begin to exclude others from using your mark. Thus, the sooner you file a trademark application, the better.
Before selecting and using a company, product, or service mark, a business should make a small investment in establishing and protecting its trademarks in the beginning. This will help your business save money in the long run to prevent unwanted litigation costs or potential loss of a business' current mark.
Here are a few simple steps:
Conduct a trademark search: It is usually advisable to consult a trademark attorney as a business enters the idea and development stages of creating a trademark.
File a trademark application and register the trademark: A business may file an application and register its business trademark with the United States Trademark Office. Although registering a business' trademark is not a requirement, it is the most important step towards protecting a trademark.
Purchase domain names: Although, domain names may not be considered trademarks they may confuse consumers as to the provider of the goods or services. Therefore, a company should consider purchasing domain names having the same or similar name as its business or product. This helps to prevent confusion or any costly litigation that may ensue later on down the line.
Trademark maintenance: It is essential once you have registered your trademark, that your business continues to create value in its mark. This means using your trademark in its proper registered format. In addition, it is important to put third parties on notice that you are claiming rights in your mark. Therefore, registered marks should be followed by use of the "®" symbol. Even if a name is not registered, you may still claim common law rights in a mark by using the "TM" symbol.
Although the budget for new or emerging business may be tight, paying for the minimal costs of searching, securing a trademark registration, and purchasing domains will be well worth it in the long run.
For more information please contact Pamela K. Riewerts at (410) 583-2400 or [email protected].
About Bowie & Jensen
Bowie & Jensen is a leading business law firm with attorneys representing clients around the world. Bowie & Jensen focuses on Business Litigation, Business Transactions, Intellectual Property, Employment Law, Real Estate, Estates & Trusts, Patent Law, Tax and Construction Law. The firm is located in Towson, Maryland and is a full-service business law firm. Bowie & Jensen can be reached at 410-583-2400, or at [email protected]; on the Net www.bowie-jensen.com.
SOURCE Bowie & Jensen