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Small Business, BIG Brand: Avoiding Trademark Infringement

This article was published in the November 2016 edition of YCEA York County Connect.

In today’s business culture, nothing is more important than your brand.  It defines your organization’s identity and dictates how you are perceived in the marketplace.  It’s also what makes you unique in a business arena that has become saturated with look-a-likes.

But what happens when your brand too closely resembles another?  What happens when you find out your brand might not really belong to you?

When it comes to branding, it’s not just corporate giants like Nike and McDonald’s that are investing in their image. Small businesses nationwide are devoting a great deal of time and money to create a brand that best communicates their company message.  From logo development to signage production, and even domain name registration, there’s no denying that staking a claim on your brand can come with a pretty hefty price tag. But if you’re not careful, you may have to shell out even more in legal fees to combat the all-too-prevalent issue of trademark infringement.

“One of the most devastating issues I have seen arise among my small business clients is inadvertent trademark infringement,” said Stock and Leader Attorney Kate Hynes who focuses her practice on business issues including intellectual property and trademarks.

You see, when small business owners are working to create their brand identity, they often neglect to perform ample due diligence in researching potential trademark infringement.

“Small business owners routinely make the mistake of conducting simple Google searches when working to establish a branding concept,” Hynes said. “But what they fail to realize is that these searches tend to return insufficient results, leaving them susceptible to infringement liability.”

So, what can you do to protect your brand and your wallet from taking a legal hit?

“Don’t be afraid to make the initial investment to enlist professional help,” Hynes said.  “Ensuring that thorough knockout and full searches have been conducted will save you time, money and hassle in the long run.”

Want more information? Contact Attorney Kate Hynes.

 

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