SOURCE: Wolf Greenfield

Wolf Greenfield

September 20, 2010 10:18 ET

Protecting Trademarks: Wolf Greenfield's Martin Gives Five Key Steps in Women's Business Boston

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 20, 2010) -  "Your company's brand can be its most valuable asset, but a brand can become worthless if you don't protect it with a properly maintained trademark," trademark expert Lisa W. Martin, an attorney with Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., Boston, writes in Women's Business Boston.

To get solid brand protection, take these five steps, Martin writes.

1. Select a protectable trademark. Not all brand names can be protected, and the strength of the protection depends on how unique the trademark is. Look for a brand you can trademark in one of the three top categories of strength: fanciful, arbitrary or suggestive.

2. Make sure the proposed trademark and domain name aren't already taken. Conduct a clearance search of your top trademark contenders for both the trademark and the domain name.

3. Use your trademark properly. Use your trademark as an adjective, not a noun or verb, she advises. Only use your trademark on approved goods/services. Apply your trademark to your goods or services. Use your trademark consistently to enhance the distinctiveness and consumer recognition of the mark. Use distinctive type and appropriate markings. The registration notice ® should be used only when a trademark has been registered. If your mark is not yet registered, use the ™ symbol.

4. Obtain rights in your trademark through registration -- in the United States and in foreign countries if you sell internationally.

5. Monitor and protect your trademark rights. "Take immediate action to halt misuse or you risk jeopardizing your trademark rights," Martin writes. "Follow these strategies to ensure proper use, protection and policing of your valuable trademarks."

Wolf Greenfield, the largest law firm in New England devoted exclusively to intellectual property law, serves companies that make everything from pharmaceuticals to software to electronics to snowboards, as well as representing academic research centers. The firm counsels clients in the areas of patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs, trade secrets, and related licensing and litigation. Web: www.wolfgreenfield.com.

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