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Check for Trademark

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Here’s a post from the IP Law 101 Blog.  I thought it provided good insight into WHEN a company should start looking at trademarks.  Sooner rather than later!

Picture this…Some friends and I decide to start an internet business and we choose a catchy and SEO friendly name. We invest money into start-up operation costs. We purchase the domain name, legally incorporate, obtain business bank accounts, hire personnel, create a logo, and order marketing materials. We send out press releases and obtain investors. We are ready to go. We realize this is a hot concept, so we want to obtain trademark protection for the business name and identity. We hire an attorney to assist with obtaining trademark registration and he discovers the name is already trademarked by another company. Yikes!

Unfortunately, I see this scenario very often in my practice. When choosing a business name or identity during the start-up phase, most business owners simply do not think about trademark registration. However, in my legal opinion as soon as a business owner chooses a company name a trademark search to assess the availability of the name or logo should be done immediately. Taking this proactive approach can save a new business from wasting dollars on a name and/or identity they can not own. Furthermore, if a trademark search clears a business to register the chosen name, logos, or other brand identifying material, the business should immediately file for a trademark to claim ownership of the mark. Very often individuals tend to infringe on company and or trademark names if they see the potential in its success! Remember, the first to use the name in commerce is the priority trademark owner!

Here are a few trademark search tips I recommend when starting a business and choosing a company name.

1. Do a preliminary search on Google to ensure that a trademark right has not been claimed in the company’s business name;
2. A preliminary search on Google will cost mce_marker. However, Google will not find viable and valid trademark rights of companies that are not on the internet or do not have active advertising and marketing campaigns. To fully ensure your company is not infringing another trademark owner’s rights, a more comprehensive search can be done.
3. Hire a trademark attorney to perform a comprehensive search. A comprehensive search will include:

* A search of the USPTO database, all 50 states trademark databases, company names that have incorporated with the state, trade names, the Copyright Office database, and the internet.
* If you plan to sell your product or service in another country, you can also obtain an international search.
* The cost of a comprehensive search for a name only starts at $550.00. However a search performed for a logo and name, starts at $950.00. International Searches do require much larger fees.

There are several companies that perform comprehensive searches. Here are a few:

CT Corsearch.

CompuMark

4 Trademark.com

These companies gather the information but do not analyze it or ensure your trademark is not infringing. A trademark attorney can analyze the contents of the search and give you a legal opinion regarding the availability of your mark.

IP Law 101

Written by realdealccr

March 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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