Investors and entrepreneurs living in California may be interested in learning more about how to avoid trademark infringement and protect their own ideas. Trademark and patent exposure may present substantial problems as the business matures and becomes more successful. Many claim that small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to managing intellectual property, patent and trademark protection.

Government agencies suggest that as little as 15 percent of the small businesses conducting transactions overseas are aware that they need to file for additional protections. These types of establishments are often lacking the resources, expertise or knowledge required to prevent theft of any products, ideas or brands associated with the business. It is not uncommon to find businesses that have inadequate protections established for physical products or trademarks. Insufficient patent protection may lead to domestic disputes and extensive legal proceedings.

In one case, Pom Wonderful won a trademark infringement case against a rival company operating under a similar name. The point of contention in the case centered on whether the word ‘Pom” qualifies for trademark protection. The rival company claimed that term is generic while legal counsel for Pom Wonderful contended that the use of the term was an infringement on an existing trademark. Registering the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may be the most effective approach for protecting intellectual property.

Business owners who need more information about protecting intellectual property might benefit from consulting legal counsel. Lawyers may be effective at acting as an intermediary for business owners who need assistance with negotiating an ongoing dispute. Legal counsel might also be able to investigate allegations of trademark infringement and advise ownership of the most advantageous course of action going forward.