Protecting Company Trade Secrets
Protecting trade secrets is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when conceptualizing business intellectual property. But, employees often leave to work for competitors or themselves and may take invaluable company confidential information with them. The law allows companies to protect trade secrets, but only if employees understand the information is confidential and your business has shown the intent to keep it confidential.
In a 2006 Illinois case, Liebert Corp. v. Mazur, four employees resigned from a company to accept positions with a competitor, but downloaded huge quantities of company data before leaving. Those employees were sued by the business, but the court ruled that the downloaded customer lists and sales quotes were not trade secrets protected by law. This was because the company did not adequately protect them by their “failure to either require employees to sign confidentiality agreements, advise employees that its records […]
AdWords Trademark Infringement
Lead generation companies use both registered and unregistered trademarks of their client’s competitors in Adwords sponsored ad campaigns online. It is happening in many industries and is wide-spread. Seemingly, these lead generation companies, on behalf of third party competitors, are essentially using the brand names and related search terms of their client’s competitors as the campaign keyword(s) to promote traffic to their website through sponsored ads. When searching the keyword or keyword phrase on Google, Bing or Yahoo, for example, the sponsored ad and corresponding website appears at or near the top of page in the paid search engine results. The website operators in question are targeting your business’s brand in an effort to siphon the existing goodwill from your business.
The problem, of course, is that these actions may in fact be actually misleading some visitors of the website that have conducted a search online for your […]
Startup Branding Mistakes
Undoubtedly, one of the most important aspects of any business is its branding. New entrepreneurs and startups have a laundry list of brand protection concerns to navigate in the beginning. Simply put, a startup can make catastrophic branding mistakes in the beginning that it may not recover from. The following branding mistakes are focused on brand protection from a legal standpoint and should be avoided by any startup or existing business trying to establish a new brand.
1. Not Choosing A Business Name That Functions As A Trademark
Business trade names differentiate one business from another. They should not be confused with trademarks or service marks, which identify the actual goods or services in commerce. As a hypothetical example, Acme Holdings, Inc. may use the name “Acme Widgets” when holding itself out to the public. Acme Holdings, Inc. would be the legal name whereas Acme Widgets would be the […]