Avoid Problems From The Start
Founders of up and coming companies have a dear place in their heart for the name of their startup. Some of them even have a business name before they have a business model.
The majority of issues that evolve into trademark litigation can be avoided. While there is nothing wrong with being attached to the name of your startup, it is imperative that you do your due diligence before calling it your own.
The official definition from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, makes it clear. A trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion.
Since the cause of confusion can be painted with broad strokes, it’s best to make clear any doubts from the beginning. The burden of proof does rest on the party claiming infringement; although, the hassle, time and resources of litigation are something every company should avoid.
Trademark Infringement Remedies
If the civil action filed by the claimed trademark owner ends in their favor, it could alter the landscape of your business.
- An immediate injunction ordering you to stop using the mark.
- Destruction of any pre-existing material with said mark.
- Monetary damages, including profits and damages to the plaintiff.
In all cases, it’s best to understand trademark litigation and avoid it in the first place.
How do you know whether or not you are infringing on a trademark? While the distinctions may seem inconsequential to the layman, there are some clear facts one must follow.
When deciding on infringement, the court will always view the trademark issue from the consumer’s point of view. Whether or not a consumer is likely to confuse one product or service from the other is decided by the degrees of similarities.
Additional factors to differentiate trademarks will include advertising campaigns, sales strategies, target markets and purchasing conditions. When the similarities outweigh the differences it may be impossible to avoid trademark issues.
Avoiding Trademark Issues
At Lee Shome & Kennedy, LLP we prefer to err on the side of caution. By leaving no detail to chance, we shine the light on any concerns that may come back to haunt you in the future.
It’s not enough to simply search a database of names, hoping for a no-match. At LSK, our attorneys are intimately connected with trademark law and it’s with this base of knowledge that they conduct comprehensive trademark searches.
It’s this same deep understanding of trademarks that allows us to foresee any likelihoods of upcoming issues.
The startup stage is a crucial period in a company’s development, one that should be focused on innovation and market penetration.
At LSK, in San Diego, we provide a free 30 minute consultation for anyone interested in forming a corporate entity.
With Lee, Shome & Kennedy, LLP, your solution starts here.