Patent and Trademark Registrations on the Rise - Are your business assets protected?

Let’s start with that oh-so-dreadful morning alarm on your iPhone®. That annoying sound forces you to get up from that oh-so-comfy Serta® mattress and sleepily walk to the kitchen to make that oh-so-delicious Starbucks® coffee.

It’s your morning routine. It’s a routine saturated by someone else’s intellectual property. That jingle on TV--trademarked. Your iPhone®--patented. The mattress-- patented. Your Starbucks® coffee--trademarked. And let’s not forget that all-important coffee maker--also patented.

We have become a world cluttered with patents and trademarks--and for good reason. Without them, some of the most valuable business assets in this country would be left unprotected and vulnerable to misappropriation.

Trademarks refer to symbols, names or phrases that are legally registered to identify the source of a company’s product and/or service. A patent is a right granted by the government to inventors to exclude others from replicating and selling their products.

We, as consumers, observe and utilize numerous patents, trademarks and other kinds of intellectual property hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day. And they are becoming an increasingly larger part of our lives. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s statistical database, the number of patent filings in the U.S. jumped 45% from 2001 to 2015. In that same time period, trademark filings increased 51%.

Legal protection for intellectual property is a standard practice for many entrepreneurs and businesses. As a business owner, manager or entrepreneur, it should also become your priority.

Patents and trademarks are crucial to the success of your business and your business’s brand. They provide exclusive rights to a trade name and/or product innovation and offer protection against infringement of those rights.

Those rights also offer a competitive advantage in the marketplace. For example, a registered trademark on the name of your popular pasta sauce recipe means it can’t be replicated and sold by someone else. That’s critical to staying one step ahead of your competition and continuing to add value to your brand.

Without formal intellectual property protection, such as obtaining a patent or registering a trademark with the U.S. Trademark Office, your internet presence and online business are at risk. A competitor may use the name of your business for their business and optimize the capability of search engines to direct the online traffic to their site. That leaves you far behind in the shadows.

Therefore, it is advantageous to take the time to invest in protecting your most valuable assets. Our intellectual property attorneys have been helping to protect the brands and innovations of companies of all sizes for decades. We serve a broad base of clients who span the country and the world. Our depth of experience allows us to tackle even the most complex intellectual property issues while we focus on maximizing opportunity and revenue for our clients.

Jamie can be reached at (216) 928-2984 or jpingor@walterhav.com.