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.
When a brand becomes positively recognized by consumers, it's natural for other companies to move toward that space in the market and try to profit. There are limits, though, to how far a business can go in terms of benefiting from another company's branding.
While you don't necessarily have to register your trademark with the government in order to exercise your right to the mark, registration is a good idea.
Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a mark without permission, or when someone uses a mark that is similar enough to another to cause confusion as to the source of the goods or services being offered.
Why does a company have trademarks and branding? To build consumer confidence and prevent the company's products from being confused with other companies' products. These are the basic purposes of trademarks and servicemarks, the registration of which we discussed in a recent post.