May 18, 2016

How to Avoid Trademark Disputes When Establishing a New Business

Picking a name is an important first step in establishing a company’s brand identity, but it can also be a trap-door to trademark litigation that new businesses can ill-afford. Scott Bialecki, partner in Faegre Baker Daniels’ intellectual property group, told The Denver Post that front-end due diligence, including a search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is critical for companies as they select a name.

"Where I've seen [new companies] run afoul is when they check with the secretary of state and they check the domain name," Bialecki said. "The problem is that those are not adequate checks to determine whether or not you can use the name or not."

Bialecki also advised companies to seek legal counsel on trademark matters before settling on a name to prevent costly conflicts from emerging down the road. 
"It's just like any sort of litigation; if you're faced with a larger company and you don't have the resources to fight, it's difficult," he said. "It might be easier to rebrand than to try to seek justice through the court system."

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