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Common intellectual property concerns when starting a business

Entrepreneurs in California must engage in careful planning when developing their business names, trademarks, marketing content and web domains. They face the challenge of selecting names that are sufficiently different from existing entities to avoid disputes and claims of infringement. They must also obtain government registration to lay the legal groundwork for ownership.

Ideally, a business will choose multiple names for itself or its products and then investigate the worthiness of each potential name. The databases at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and its equivalent agencies in other countries will provide information about names that are similar. Businesses should select names that offer the greatest possibility of protection from infringement complaints. This process should occur concurrently with the purchase of a web domain name to avoid the problem of registering a business name only to find out that someone else owns that domain name.

Businesses also need to use content, including images, for their websites and other marketing materials that they have a right to use. They should either develop their own content or obtain permission from copyright holders.

Failing to perform careful due diligence could land a business in legal trouble. A challenge from another party that already uses the same or similar name for a business, product or service could undermine a business's ability to market itself and produce income.

A person with concerns about the use of intellectual property may wish to ask for legal support. An attorney might aid with research about available names, prepare paperwork for trademark or patent filings and evaluate business materials for potential infringements on other parties. Additionally, an attorney may be able to defend a person's protected material when another organization uses it without permission. Business litigation managed by an attorney might help halt the infringement and recover damages.

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