I often say that intellectual property law is not intuitive. This is painfully obvious when it comes to creating a brand.
Here’s the rub:
– in the world of copyright law, independent creation is a full defense; however
– in the world of trademark law, independent creation is irrelevant.
Artists rejoice! If you paint a beautiful picture—you own it! It doesn’t matter if it’s an exact replica of an earlier painting. (This assumes you never saw the prior painting.)
Meanwhile, a business owner could be liable for “copying” someone else that they have never heard of. That’s right, if a company contacts you and says that you are infringing their company name, saying “but I never heard of you” is meaningless.
What are you supposed to do? One simple solution is to perform a search before you open your business. This search costs less than $300, but could save your business.
The phrase “but I didn’t know” is the reason I started my firm. I heard this phrase so many times from small companies when I worked for big firms and represented the large companies. These small companies were taking chances by operating in unknown conditions. This risk was not necessary, and I want to show them the way to certainty.
My mission is to inform, educate and represent small and mid-sized companies in the world of intellectual property, and specifically brand rights. Informing and educating are so important, because IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXCUSE!