TRADEMARKS FOR START-UPS – Do I need to worry about a trademark when my business is just getting started?
QUESTION: I just thought up a GREAT name for my start-up but I did not do a trademark search. The business name looks clear. It took forever to come up with this name! Do I really have to worry about trademarks now? Money is so tight! ANSWER: Coming up with the perfect name is the most important step to attracting customers, but what about a trademark search? Let’s say you want to register SUZIE’S CUPCAKES LLC in the State of Delaware, and you’ve got your cupcake pans greased, and are ready to start baking and shipping. And you’ve registered suziescupcakes.com as your domain. Sounds yummy! But, not so fast! SUSIECAKES is a Federal trademarkand even though it uses a different spelling of “Suzie” and the word “cakes” not “cupcakes,” the owner of that trademark could threaten you with a trademark infringement lawsuit. Why? Because SUZIE'S CUPCAKES could well be considered "confusingly similar" to SUSIECAKES, and the SUSIECAKES registered trademark is enforceable in all 50 States. While you may not be ready to file for a Federal trademark just yet, you should consider having a experienced trademark attorney conduct a search and give you a legal opinion on the use of your business name. Many trademark attorneys charge a fixed fee for a search and opinion. It could be the best investment you’ll ever make for your business! Disclaimer: The foregoing fact situation has been created by way of example only and is not intended, nor should be construed as, legal advice.