If you are a future Philly-business owner, you have almost certainly put time and effort into understanding your company’s new marketplace and the changes you may face in your industry environment upon relocation. When making a big move, it is even more important than ever to make sure that your branding, the key elements that represent your business and its reputation to both your existing customers and your new client base, is stronger than ever. Whether you are relocating your storefront, expanding your franchise, or simply planting new roots in Philadelphia, it is a crucial time for you to examine your intellectual property portfolio to find areas in which you can strengthen and grow.
Here are some things to consider during this critical transition:
Is your website protected?
Just because your physical location may be changing does not mean your website has to—in fact, it may be beneficial to make sure your online store is fully functional and serviceable while relocating, especially if your stores may be temporarily closed or operating under limited hours. In a world that is increasingly virtual, protecting your website content should become a top priority, especially if it is acting as a constant during real-world alterations to your business.
To ensure that you are fully protecting your website, start by building up your intellectual property portfolio. This is done through filing copyrights for the aspects of your website that are eligible. By routinely filing to protect your creative content that is posted online with the US Copyright Office, you are ensuring that, should an infringement matter arise involving your website, you are able to proactively take action in federal court and remain one step ahead during litigation.
Do you have strong trademarks?
Trademarks are versatile, key components of any intellectual property portfolio and are able to protect names, logos, slogans, and even product trade dress. They are instrumental in enforcement matters and averting infringement from occurring in the marketplace, as their primary goal is to prevent consumer confusion between marks that are too alike. Beginning with a strong trademark for your business, service, and products means finding a mark that represents your brand without being generic for those goods and services offered. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is likely to reject any trademark application deemed to simply be descriptive, so choosing a trademark that is distinctive and unique is imperative.
If you plan to file a trademark application, make sure a clearance search is performed prior to its submission. Searches, which are commonly performed by trademark attorneys, go through existing trademark applications and registrations to look for marks that may conflict with yours. This way, you know the risks associated with filing for a certain trademark and can update or alter your application prior to moving forward. Once you are confident in your selected mark, your attorney will draft and submit the application. The turnaround time, which typically ranges from eight to ten months, may vary slightly depending on extensions, refusals, or other necessary filings. Your attorney will help you navigate this process and make the appropriate submissions as needed. Once registered, the trademark is valid nationally, providing protection to your business online, in Philadelphia, and at any other physical locations across the country.
Do you need a patent?
Patents are another potential business investment that you can make. If there is an invention central to your business, seeking a patent registration for it is a good next step. Patents are issued for ideas that are new and novel, and once registered, they act as invaluable tools for your business as it expands to Philadelphia and beyond, assisting your business in each of its locations. Searches are just as important for patent applications as they are for trademarks, especially since registrations are only issued for new designs. To learn more about how to conduct a patent search, read our post here.
Enlist the help of your attorney to decide whether you should apply for a patent, perform a patent search, and navigate through the complex application process.
Are you monitoring the marketplace?
The responsibility of monitoring the marketplace for potential infringers rests upon the copyright, trademark, and patent owners. This is important regardless of city or region, especially as more goods and services are sold and offered via the Internet. Good monitoring habits consist of setting up search engine alerts for other parties using your trademarks and checking for new trademark and patent applications at the USPTO that may conflict with yours. Many attorneys offer monitoring services, which typically consists of thorough, regulated searches looking for potential infringement on your mark. These monitoring methods, especially when used in conjunction, are very effective and can be highly valuable for a business owner looking to protect their intellectual property.
Relocation is a massive transition that carries with it great changes but even greater potential—a new market, new storefront, and new possibilities can make a move to Philadelphia expedient and worthwhile. If you are looking for ways to strengthen your brand during this critical time, please reach out to an attorney at Gerben IP for a comprehensive and complimentary consultation regarding your intellectual property and monitoring needs. Our attorneys are local, experienced, and ready to help your business grow into its potential.