In addition to consulting an attorney who specializes in trademark law, startup companies and entrepreneuers can avoid other common mistakes when it comes to safeguarding their brand or image by conducting a proper trademark search.
While this also may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised at the number of entrepreneurs who build an entire business model and brand without so much as conducting a preliminary search, much less a full-fledged trademark search.
Many trademark infringement claims could have been completely avoided if the company or entrepreneur had taken the time and made the small expenditure up front to conduct a trademark search not just before launching their business, but before finalizing their business model.
If a proper search is conducted, it may help to surface any mark held by a third-party which could potentially be an infringement risk.
If a proper search is conducted up front, the company or entrepreneur will have the time to choose a different name, brand or image or obtain permission to use that particular name, brand or image from the third party who owns it.
A proper trademark search can also help the company or entrepreneur defend against claims that the alleged infringement was willful (which raises the severity of the infringement claim).
In the converse–not conducting a proper trademark search can possibly be used as evidence that the company or entrepreneur acted willfully.
Trademark searches can be preliminary or they can be full trademark searches, both of which we will discuss over the next couple of weeks.