Dealing with trademarks

Posted: 12/7/2011
By: Katie Kylen
Visibility and recognition should be key components in a small business marketing plan, but trouble can arise when companies' efforts to achieve this infringe upon existing trademarks, CNN reports.

For example, shoe startup Rollashoe's Footzyrolls brand was recently sued by Tootsie Roll Industries for trademark infringement.

This type of litigation is on the rise, with more than 3,600 cases filed in United States courts last year, according to figures from FTI Consulting. The 8 percent increase over the previous year represented the largest rise in the past decade.

"An experienced trademark lawyer can assess your trademark before you file and tell you if it is slightly risky, highly risky or in clear violation of an existing trademark," David Byer, intellectual property attorney with K&L Gates, told the news source. Byer noted that many firms offer fixed packages for such services, at prices that are affordable for small enterprises.

Companies that wish to file an application for their own trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can do so online via the Trademark Electronic Application System.  

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