Trademark Searches: An Investment or Waste of Money?
A trademark search is a comprehensive search of:
the United States Federal Trademark Database
web domain names
A trademark search is extremely important, for many reasons. The main reason is that a trademark search provides you with information on whether the brand name that you are currently using, or seek to use, is available. Comprehensive trademark searches can be done for: business names, logos, slogans, taglines, etc.
Many business owners make the fatal mistake of starting their business and engaging in sales and marketing, before having a trademark search conducted of their business and brand name. Trademark searches are an investment, because without this information, many business owners later discover, through a cease and desist letter, that the name, logo, slogan, or tagline that they are using is already trademarked.
A cease and desist notice puts a business and brand owner on notice that they are engaging in trademark infringement, and that the rightful owner of the trademark intends to sue them in federal court. A waste of money is starting your business and brand, attending networking events and conferences, before having a trademark. Trademark infringement cases are very expensive (often starting at $10,000), mentally draining, and often ruins the reputation of the business owner who is found liable for trademark infringement.
Many business owners are in sheer disbelief when they learn that they can no longer use the name, logo, slogan, tagline, etc that they've been using. Investing in a trademark search (or multiple searches) can mean the difference between paying five or six figures in either trademark infringement litigation fees, the costs of rebranding, or the infamous "ransom" to keep using the brand name.
An important note for entrepreneurs in the Cannabis industry. Anyone who intends to bring a trademark infringement case against a Cannabis business will almost always start at six figures for damages.
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