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How small businesses can avoid trademark infringement

It is critical for small business owners in Texas to safeguard the brands and assets of their companies, including trademarks. Those who lack trademark protection could end up in legal battles that put them and their businesses in financial jeopardy. Small business owners may take certain steps to ensure that this does not happen.

The first step is choosing a strong, unique trademark that does not use generic terms or markings. The name needs to be specific to the nature of the company's operations. Next, the owner should do research to ensure that the trademark chosen does not infringe upon other businesses' marks. This can help prevent the entrepreneur from having to defend a claim of infringement. After that, the trademark that is chosen should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is relatively easy and inexpensive. Without the registration, another business could claim the trademark as its own and then sue the original business that used it.

To protect a small business from trademark infringement even further, the owner needs to build a brand around the company and make it as successful as possible. Brands that are widely recognized are less likely to be targeted than those that remain in a niche and are not as well known. The final task is monitoring the environment to ensure that competitors are not trying to infringe upon that success. Rivals who do may be waiting to see if the small business owner will fight back.

The owners of new companies have a lot to consider when it comes to their branding and other aspects of intellectual property. In addition to assisting in the trademark registration process, an attorney can help a small business in the preparation of agreements with employees and others that contain clauses providing strong trade secret protection.

Source: Business 2 Community, "Protect Your Ideas: How to Stay Away From Trademark Infringement", March 1, 2015

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