Trademarks are a form of intellectual property used to identify goods or services and are often a highly valuable asset in a business acquisition. In any acquisition a buyer should be careful that: 1) all trademarks are properly assigned from the seller to the buyer; and 2) the trademark is protected from any subsequent bona fide purchasers. To achieve these goals a buyer must determine whether the trademarks are classified as state, federal or common law trademarks. A trademark may be a combination of these classifications. In addition, the purchase agreement should contain certain seller representations including applicable warranties pertaining to ownership, infringement and dilution of the acquired trademarks.
Overlooking the complexities of statutory and common law trademarks in an acquisition could result in the loss of valuable rights in acquired trademarks. Consult with an experienced attorney for guidance.