Dallas, Austin, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa & Abilene TX Trademark Attorney
Obtaining a trademark from the Patent Trademark Office (PTO) in Washington, D.C. is one of the most critical steps you can take to protect your business and its branding. Clients, unfortunately, often learn this lesson the hard way. Here’s a typical horror story (true story but facts altered for confidentiality).
The client comes into my law office for a first meeting and his wife is in tears. He is holding a letter from a law firm with the words “Cease & Desist” on top and looks worried. His first words are: “Mr. Moster, I got this in the mail yesterday and this guy can’t be serious!?”
I look at the letter and it says that a company out of Philadelphia, PA owns the trademark for “Big Bucko Barbecue Sauce” which is being used by the client out of Idalou, Texas. The client explains that he came up with this terrific name, printed it on 5 thousand bottles of barbecue sauce with his wife’s secret recipe (hence, the tears), and sold it to a big name grocery store in Houston for delivery next week. He stammers in fear – “This guy in Philadelphia can’t be serious. He said that if I don’t cease and desist using “his name” – he’ll sue. That can’t be right?”
I check out the status of the trademark and quickly determine that the trademark is owned by the gentlemen from Philadelphia. Since this holder of the mark will not back down, my client has no choice but to destroy all 5 thousand bottles of barbecue sauce and start all over again. Oh, forgot to mention that he gets sued later by the grocery store for failing to deliver on the bottles of barbecue sauce!
The moral of this trademark story is that unless a business takes steps to determine that its core product name and brand are available and can be trademarked, any use of an unregistered mark in commerce comes at great risk of loss. In fact, it can shut your business down. In the worst-case scenario, you would be liable for damages and court costs imposed under Federal Law.
Texas Trademark Lawyers Serving Dallas, Austin, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa & Abilene
The Moster Law Firm provides affordable trademark services for business owners whether starting out or in business for many years. You can feel confident that your questions will be answered rapidly and in a way that makes business sense.
Bring your ideas to a complimentary meeting and find out if the path ahead is all clear. You can even bring in a bottle of barbecue sauce but try a different name this time!