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5 New Year Tips for Business Owners

by | Jan 3, 2019 | Basics of Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property

Happy New Year!

As we start off 2019, here are a few tips for business owners that can help prevent bigger problems down the road.

Read and make sure you understand all contracts you sign.

I am always amazed at the number of business owners who come to me for assistance after they have signed an agreement. They are usually upset that the other party is not performing the way the business owner thought the agreement stated.

Often the business owner has not carefully read the agreement and instead relied on verbal representations from the other party. They did not bother to review it with an attorney who might have helped them understand the consequences of signing.

Identify all the intellectual property assets of your company.

Make a list of all intellectual property assets that are important to the success of your company. This includes all trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

Keeping track of intellectual property assets is helpful for ensuring maintenance deadlines are not missed. In addition, if a valuation needs to be conducted on the company, the inventory of intellectual property assets will be readily available for the person conducting the appraisal.

Make sure you register all trademarks.

Your company may have only registered the company name as a trademark with the USPTO. But your company may have additional products and services that are marketed in commerce under specific logos and/or trademarks.

If the product and service names are not merely descriptive, you should consider registering them as trademarks with the USPTO.

Do not ignore cease and desist letters.

If your company receives a cease and desist letter from an attorney that accuses your company of trademark or copyright infringement, do not ignore the letter.

The other party will file a lawsuit against your company in federal court. You will spend a lot more money defending your company in court than if you had sought legal advice on how to respond to the cease-and-desist letter.

A well-written letter on law firm letterhead in response to a cease-and-desist letter is more likely to help settle the dispute prior to any lawsuit.

Do not use photographs, artwork, trademarks, or intellectual property that belongs to another company or individual without permission.

Just because a photograph, logo, artwork, music, or article is available on the internet does not mean it is free for you to copy and use on your website or in your creations. Take the time to obtain permission from the creator and/or owner of the work. This will prevent cease-and-desist letters from being served on you and your company.

These are just a few of the tips that all business owners should be aware of throughout the year. Good luck in 2019! The Intellectual Property team at Marks Gray hopes you experience good health and success this year.


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