If you have a great business idea, then the safest way to build and protect your brand is to take the right legal steps. Not everyone does this, and often entrepreneurs with potentially profitable ideas wind up in intellectual property litigation, the cost of which can cut deeply into the value of a business.
When a brand becomes positively recognized by consumers, it's natural for other companies to move toward that space in the market and try to profit. There are limits, though, to how far a business can go in terms of benefiting from another company's branding.
Retaining trade secrets and preventing employee poaching can be particularly difficult in highly competitive industries such as California's tech industry. One area of technology where competition is quickly rising is the connected fitness market, which provides wearable products for monitoring health.
While you don't necessarily have to register your trademark with the government in order to exercise your right to the mark, registration is a good idea.
If your tech business licenses your products and intellectual property to another company, then you need someone on your side -- an intellectual property lawyer -- to monitor the arrangement and protect your interests. In some cases, businesses start out with a good agreement that lasts for years, but somewhere along the line one party stops honoring the contract in full.
According to a 2014 survey, 61 percent of consumers used Internet streaming each week to access movies, TV shows and other content. That percentage represents a 17 percent increase from the year before.
Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a mark without permission, or when someone uses a mark that is similar enough to another to cause confusion as to the source of the goods or services being offered.
Most business owners, when they realize they have a dispute with another company, don't immediately say to themselves, "We need to take this to court; we need to litigate." For one thing, litigation can be a costly and time-consuming distraction from running a business. In many cases, with the right proactive legal planning, business owners can avoid the expense of going to court.
Why does a company have trademarks and branding? To build consumer confidence and prevent the company's products from being confused with other companies' products. These are the basic purposes of trademarks and servicemarks, the registration of which we discussed in a recent post.
Investigating an intellectual property dispute may involve looking into the previous encounters and business dealings, if any, between the parties involved in the dispute.