Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP
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Keep your business identifiable with trademark protection

How long do you think it will take you to get your business off the ground? More than likely, you will spend a significant amount of time getting your name out to your customer base. Once people know who you are, you will need some trademark protection in order to remain identifiable to those you provide goods or services to, whether just here in the Houston area or elsewhere.

If someone uses a brand substantially similar to yours, it could confuse consumers. You could end up losing customers, which could jeopardize the success of your business. On the other hand, another company may accuse yours of infringing on its trademark. In either of these circumstances, you will need to show that you have the right to the trademark and not the other party.

The first step is to protecting your company's brand is to register it as a trademark. A search of existing trademarks will help you determine whether you could run into issues with the brand you intend to use. You may not think you need to go through the trouble of registering your trademark because you are just a small business, but that could not be farther from the truth. You need to secure your legal right to use a trademark in order to protect yourself now and in the future.

Obtaining a trademark means applying for one through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The agency may make the application process seem easy, but it can quickly become complex. If you do not go through the process correctly, you could lose your right to the trademark protection you seek. Making use of the experience and knowledge of an intellectual property attorney here in Houston could make the experience go more smoothly and provide you with the results you want.

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