Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Diligent research could help businesses avoid trademark woes

An increase in commercial opportunities in recent years has contributed to more Connecticut businesses looking to protect unique designs. The World Intellectual Property Organization reports that there has been a sharp rise in the number of trademark application filings: 30 percent in 2017 alone over the previous year. For this reason, businesses are encouraged to be mindful of their trademarks and diligent about their research.

In 2018, it's estimated that about 80 percent of brands experienced trademark infringement. The odds of successfully registering industrial designs can be increased with thorough and proper research beyond simply doing a search on Google. However, it's largely agreed that the biggest mistake a business can make is failing to register an industrial design trademark at all. This creates opportunities for competitors to create legal hassles.

Also, any design that conflicts with an existing design will likely be rejected by the examiner. Because this often happens several months after an application was filed, businesses are advised to search for designs that may be too similar to what they have. Fortunately, AI-powered image recognition software that can look through a database of millions of images is making it easier for businesses to compare designs and reduce their risk of experiencing infringement woes. Taking advantage of newer technology could also help businesses and entrepreneurs avoid irrelevant results and streamline the research process.

Another step a business owner can take when looking to avoid unpleasant surprises while attempting to legally protect designs and other unique concepts is to work with a trademarks attorney as early in the process as possible. Having legal input sooner rather than later may help a company avoid application headaches or unexpected trademark challenges. A lawyer might also prove to be a valuable asset if another business attempts to infringe on an existing trademark.

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