Today’s Restaurant, the trade newspaper for the restaurant industry in Florida and Georgia offers:
|Restaurateurs: Is your Brand at risk?|
Trademark rights are established by use. Merely using a logo or slogan in connection with the sale of goods or services establishes common law rights in a trademark. However, such common law rights do not provide adequate protection against an unscrupulous competitor. Common law rights are not your best defense against claims of infringement. Without a Registration Certificate, your company may not own its brand.
Even if your restaurant has been in business for years – a new establishment selling a similar product or service could register YOUR trademark and use it for their own benefit. The new company will have the benefit of a federal trademark registration, which presumes that they can use that trademark at a nationwide level. The new company may even send the original company a letter asserting trademark infringement – based on federal law. The original company will need to defend its rights – or change its branding. Re-branding may require name change, a new marketing campaign, revisions to a website, new product packaging or signage, and clientele introductions to your new brand. Both remedies are costly. Neither is a desirable solution.
Trademarks are a valuable – and often overlooked – non-tangible asset of a business. Intellectual Property law provides avenues to protect these assets. Companies should seek federal registration of their trademarks when applicable. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides many benefits over common law rights, including:
Additional benefits of registering a trademark include: adding an asset to your business valuation, ability to sell or transfer your trademark registration, and security of investing advertising dollars without concern of infringement.
Whether your business is a newly-formed entity or well-established, securing your trademark rights now will protect your brand later.
*The hiring of an attorney should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask for written information about qualifications and experience. Sending an email to Danielle Bratek, Esq. does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please be advised that sending information over the internet may compromise the confidential nature of your matter or waive any attorney-client privilege that may apply. While you are welcome to communicate via the internet/email, it is suggested that you do so with caution and to contact an attorney directly via telephone to discuss particular legal matters.