As a business owner in Philadelphia, you understand the nuances of a competitive marketplace and the significance of recognizable branding. Your name, logo, and slogan are all key components that represent your company’s reputation and goodwill among your consumer base. As your business grows inside the city and beyond, it is more important than ever to invest in the protection of the most integral parts of your brand.
1. Protect Your Web Content
As more and more industries adapt to functioning virtually, businesses are paying new attention to their online presence and website appeal. As a greater number of products and services move online, businesses are no longer separated by physical regional boundaries as brick and mortar companies once were. While this helps companies reach a larger range of customers, this also increases the chances of consumer confusion between businesses that share overt similarities in like industries that may not have occurred otherwise.
As your business moves online, protecting your web content should be a top priority, and the best way to initiate this is through the establishment of an intellectual property plan to protect the copyrightable elements of your website. By routinely filing the content you create and post online with US Copyright Office you will ensure that you are able to take proper action in federal court if/when another party misappropriates your content. To learn how to copyright a website, click here.
2. Choose a Strong Trademark
When you are looking to build up your company’s intellectual property inventory, trademarks are extremely important. Trademarks are versatile in that they can protect anything from a company name to its signature catchphrase, and they are instrumental in assisting in enforcement matters and preventing marketplace infringement.
From the start, it is imperative that you select a strong name for your business, product and/or service. The best way to do this is to find a name, phrase, or logo that represents your brand, but is not immediately generic for or descriptive of that goods and services you plan to offer under the trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will likely reject any application that is determined to be merely descriptive of your company’s services or products, so the selection of a strong, distinctive trademark is a critical step.
3. File for Trademark Registration
Prior to filing any trademark application, it is important to perform a clearance search for the mark that you have selected. These searches are commonly performed by trademark attorneys and comb through the existing applications and registrations to ensure that none of them may be in conflict with yours. Once you are confident that your chosen trademark has a high chance of success, your attorney will draft and submit the application. The turnaround time for these applications is typically eight to ten months; this timeline may be extended due to any refusals that are issued. Additionally, depending on the initial filing basis, you may need to prove use of the trademark before it can officially be registered. One of the largest advantages that this registration provides is its national validity, protecting your trademark in Philadelphia and nationwide.
Gerben Law Firm provides trademark registration services for businesses in Philadelphia and nationwide. Learn more about our trademark services here.
4. Get a Patent
Patents are also of potential value to your intellectual property portfolio. If you have created an invention that is instrumental to your company, it may be a good idea to seek out a patent registration (learn how). Patents are issued for ideas that are new and novel and can be invaluable tools as your business expands beyond Philadelphia. Clearance searches are just as important to patents as they are to trademarks; registrations are only issued to designs that are not already in use, so it is of great importance for the applicant to ensure their invention is truly theirs. If similar patents are found in existence, the applicant can focus on the most unique parts of their creation to give them the highest chances of obtaining a patent of their own.
5. Monitor the Marketplace for Infringement
Lastly, it is the responsibility of the owner of a copyright, trademark and/or patent to police the marketplace to confirm that there are no potential infringers operating in industries close to theirs. Good habits for intellectual property monitoring also consist of setting up search engine alerts for anyone using your trademarks and checking new trademark and patent applications at the USPTO for marks that could conflict with yours. Many IP lawyers also offer monitoring services that conduct thorough, regular searches of the virtual marketplace and pending applications on your behalf; these services can be of utmost value to a business owner intent on protecting their intellectual property.
Ultimately, the best way to protect your brand in Philly and throughout the rest of the country is through the registration and maintenance of your intellectual property. If you’re looking for the best place to start building up your portfolio, please reach out to Gerben Law Firm for a free consultation. With several regional offices and multiple attorneys with Pennsylvania backgrounds, Gerben Law is uniquely positioned to effectively help you protect your brand and assist with navigating complex intellectual property matters.