For business owners, legal process of branding tedious but worthwhile

If you have a great business idea, then the safest way to build and protect your brand is to take the right legal steps. Not everyone does this, and often entrepreneurs with potentially profitable ideas wind up in intellectual property litigation, the cost of which can cut deeply into the value of a business.

Brand research is a key aspect of establishing and protecting your rights to intellectual property. If you don't know what is already out there and what to expect in the market, then you may be hit with an unpleasant surprise and find it difficult to defend or enforce your rights. After all, buzzwords and phrases proliferate through particular industries, and you need to be sure that your branding isn't too similar to someone else's.

While it is possible to exercise your right to a brand through consistent use of a trademark, it is a risky decision not to register the mark. Claims of consistent use can be more difficult to support in the event that you or someone else claims infringement.

(We recently discussed a trademark infringement case involving shoe maker Skechers and flip-flop maker TerriKelly.)

If legal issues related to intellectual property are not something you deal with on a daily basis, then the legal process of building protections around your brand, services or products may be intimidating. Still, not covering those legal bases could potentially have business-shattering consequences, including time-consuming litigation, costly settlements and forced brand changes.

Work with an experienced intellectual property attorney to avoid those outcomes.

For more on these matters, please see Shulman, Hodges & Bastian LLP's overview of patent and trademark infringement.

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