To the casual business owner, it would seem that registering a trademark in Connecticut for a new product or service is simple. Nothing could be further than the truth.
Many companies do not know how to properly clear a trademark for use and registration in association with their products. The failure to do so can result in major risks to the business, including claims of trademark infringement and resulting monetary damages. Here are two important rules to remember:
Rule #1: A Business Name Search is Not a Trademark Search
A Connecticut business name search is not the same as a trademark availability search. If I have a business that I want to call "Pepsee, Inc." for beverages, chances are that the name would be available for a business name registration if there is not an identical "hit" on the search results. If I think that this pleasant fact now entitles me to operate a beverage company called "Pepsee," perhaps I should think again. Therefore, secretary of state business name searches, while a good place to start, are of very little value.
Rule #2. Always Rely on the Opinion of a Qualified Connecticut Trademark Attorney
The failure to have a Connecticut trademark attorney conduct a full trademark search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office records, state trademark office records, and common law listings prior to filing a trademark application is one of the most common mistakes that Connecticut business owners make. While understandable, it is important to learn this valuable lesson to avoid unpleasant legal consequences.
Remember, trademark law is a specialized area that requires skill and knowledge. If your brand name is important to you, then make a small investment in a trademark lawyer to make sure that you get it right the first time.