Many new business owners make the costly mistake of putting the cart before the horse, meaning that after creating a business name and/or logo, they invest in pricey marketing materials, websites and advertising strategies BEFORE consulting a trademark attorney. An astute business owner first seeks counsel from an attorney to:
1) Conduct a trademark novelty search,
2) Provide an analysis on the availability of a business name/logo and
3) Issue a risk report of potentially litigious existing trademark owners.
Failure to invest in this preliminary research before investing in marketing can be devastating for a new business in the event that the adopted name and/or logo is identical or confusingly similar to an existing mark and the senior owner chooses to file suit for trademark infringement.
Not only can such preliminary research prevent possible litigation from senior owners, coupled with an investment in trademark registration, it can also give the new business owner superior rights over possible users of the mark later on. A notable example of this is the use of Burger King in Australia. When the American franchise Burger King sought to expand into the Australian market, the company found that the name BURGER KING had already been trademarked by a local restaurant, Adelaide. Because Adelaide had invested in trademark registration of the brand, the American franchise company Burger King was forced to operate under another name and is known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia.