As a small business owner, you spend a lot of time and money and invest plenty of sweat equity into building a business and create intellectual property that needs protection along the way. So I thought I would suggest a few strategies to protect your business’s trademarks:

1. Use Google Alerts. You can set up a Google Alert for your trademarks that will let you know when your trademark appears on the Internet or in news articles. If something turns up that causes you concern, contact your lawyer to discuss how to proceed.

2. Monitoring service. A monitoring service regularly checks activity that related to your trademark, researching trademark registries and databases to find others who have copied your mark or have similar marks. This can be especially helpful if you market or plan to market your services or products outside the United States because marks must be registered separately in each country where you do business.

3. Proceed cautiously. Review the specifics of your case with an attorney before you send suspected violators a cease-and-desist letter. It’s common for small business owners to try saving money at the expense of sending out the wrong information, which can come back to haunt them.

4. Have an attorney on board from the beginning. A business attorney can help you avoid costly litigation or trademarking missteps that could cost you in terms of money and the loss of your intellectual property rights.

If you’re a small or mid-size business owner, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit. Mention this article and we’ll waive the audit fee (availability permitting).