Although logo trademarking may not initially factor into the plans of young companies, prioritizing this bit of intellectual property management early can prevent unforeseen problems down the line.
"Every business should trademark its logo because it provides the highest form of protection," legal expert Stephanie Rabiner explained in a recent report for Reuters. "A trademark will discourage counterfeit goods and services. Infringement will also be easier to prove should you end up in court."
A small Canadian coffee chain recently learned this lesson the hard way. According to the Toronto Star, entrepreneur Richard Ottenhof started Coffeeco in 2007 with the goal of integrating quality food service with eco-friendly practices. However, Ottenhof decided to abandon a trademark application in 2010.
Since then Aramark Canada, a division of massive global food services corporation Aramark Corp, has filed three trademark applications for Coffeecompany, its brand of fair trade coffee with a similar logo as Coffeeco's. The two companies are now battling for rights to the logo.
To avoid similarly unfortunate occurrences, Rabiner insists that companies take preventative action and complete the full trademarking process. After conducting appropriate due diligence - including searches for similar logos - a company can download an application and take the first step toward protecting a uniquely valuable aspect of its brand.