The Importance of Conducting a Thorough Trademark SearchPosted by William on Nov 6, 2011 in Business Litigation, Business Transactions, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Transactions, Intellectual Property, News, Trademark | 0 comments
The problem with trademarks is the fact that they are literally the backbone of your company. Without it, you are just another business on the side of the road, unrecognizable and less likely to gain any type of following. Just as the trademarks can bring additional business to your company based on name recognition, consistent excellent quality of services and goods, and longstanding goodwill, a trademark you copied (whether deliberately or inadvertently) from a third party, can bring much turmoil, disruption, and loss of future income to your business.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has its own set of internal guidelines which they use to determine whether or not they will register your trademark. The mere fact that your trademark has been registered with the USPTO does NOT mean that you are free and clear from any future infringement lawsuits by a third party. What your trademark registration does mean is that, based on the USPTO’s internal guidelines, you paid the USPTO your registration filing fee, and the USPTO registered your trademark. In fact, there are instances where the USPTO finds that your trademark is “potentially confusing” with someone else’s mark but still registers your trademark anyway.
The fact that your trademark is “potentially confusing” with someone else’s mark can be a litigation nightmare a few years down the line when you and that third party is continuing to do business and maybe even expanding to additional areas. All the third party needs to prove is that there is a likelihood of customer confusion. Once that third party proves that your actions of using your later registered mark, you are guilty of trademark infringement, along with the huge liability and potential damages that comes with it!
Take the time now to consult with a trademark attorney so that you can rest assured you are building a business with trade and service marks that are in fact yours!