There’s a short answer to the question posed in the title of this blog post:
Here’s the longer answer:
When you're starting a new business – any business – there are going to be some underlying trademark issues.
Your business has a name. Your business offers a product or service, and that product or service has a name.
If you fail to do a trademark clearance to confirm that nobody else already owns the trademark, you may end up adopting and using a name that already belongs to someone else.
Even if you innocently use a name owned by someone else, once they become aware of yourexistence, they will have the ability to take you to court to force you to stop using the name and to collect monetary damages from your use of their name.
If a trademark owner decides to pursue legal action, the measure of potential damages for trademark infringement includes whatever profits you’ve derived from the sales under the infringing trademark. Sometimes that amount is in the tens of thousands. I’ve worked with some clients where it's been in the hundreds of thousands.
As a new business owner, you’re worried about a lot of things, and you’re trying to keep your expenses down. If you don’t spend money on trademark clearance, though, you could unwittingly adopt a business or product name that could potentially infringe upon somebody else's trademark. Failing to make the relatively modest investment in trademark clearance could end up costing you a lot more down the road.
Through the years, I've helped clients that have, unfortunately, been in situations where they didn't know enough to do this trademark due diligence up front. When they finally realized, “Hey, there's a problem here,” it ended up costing them a lot more than it would have if they had simply taken care of it on the front end.
That’s why I always recommend investing in trademark clearance. It’s a relatively small investment that will provide you insurance and protection against the major risk of a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Is your business trademark protected? If not, or if you’re not sure, set up a free consultation so we can review the process with you.