Category Archives: Blog

The Importance of Trademarks in Franchising

If you are planning to franchise your business, owning trademarks that you can legally defend is essential to protecting your brand identity.

Registered trademarks play a significant role in the success of your franchise system, as they safeguard your intellectual property. Without trademarking, copycat businesses can take your ideas, pass them off as their own and profit from your creativity.

Because trademark law is highly complex, seeking out a business attorney with expertise in franchise system development and the protection of intellectual property rights is in your best interests.

Franchising and trademarks

What Are Trademarks?

The name of your business, the brand names, and logos you use, your tagline — any of these can be trademarks. With a few exceptions, any word, phrase or symbol that identifies the goods or services you provide and sets you apart from the competition can be trademarked.

Trademarking Your Franchise System

Many franchisors have several trademarks, but you may not be able to protect all your trademarks under the law.

Generic or descriptive names, such as “Computer Repair Service” and “Best Carpet Cleaners,” are difficult to trademark, as are names that include a location, like “Utah Beauty Shop.” Suggestive marks that imply something about the goods or services such as Greyhound and Citibank typically qualify for registration. Fanciful or made-up names, such as Xerox and Kleenex, and those that are arbitrary such as Apple for computers are typically the best suited for obtaining a federal trademark registration.

Trademark Registration for Legal Protection

For franchisors, federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is wise. Registration is not mandatory to franchise your concept; however, it will provide you with nationwide protection for your franchise system trademarks.

If you decide against registering, your FDD must include a disclaimer — and this inclusion could discourage potential franchisees.

Franchising and Intellectual Property Licensing

When you franchise your business, you grant a specific license to your franchises, allowing them to use your trademarks. Other types of license agreements such as distributor, dealer, and joint venture partnerships may also need to provide for trademark use. Licensing and providing for use of your trademark is a complex issue that should be handled by a business attorney with knowledge and experience in intellectual property, franchising, and licensing.

For expert advice and assistance on franchising your business and protecting your trademarks and other intellectual property, call on the award-winning Utah legal professionals at The Franchise & Business Law Group.

Our highly skilled business law attorneys have decades of experience helping franchisors, and we have a thorough understanding of the trademarking and licensing processes. Rest assured, we can protect your company and help you achieve your franchising goals.

For more information on The Franchise & Business Law Group, or to schedule a confidential business attorney consultation to discuss franchising and trademark registration, contact our Salt Lake City, Utah, office today.

How Does Business Law Differ from Commercial Law?

Business law and commercial law have many interrelated issues, and the majority of attorneys who practice one also practice the other.

But, the two legal specialties are not one and the same. Business law focuses on the rules and regulations that dictate how to form and operate a business. Commercial law, on the other hand, concerns the legal requirements for the sale and distribution of goods and services.

Any business that sells products or provides services needs an attorney with expertise in both business law and commercial law. Here’s why having the right lawyer is essential.

Utah commercial and business attorneys

Business Law

Experts in business law must be familiar with both the federal and state regulations.

The federal government governs workplace safety and employment laws, stocks and investments and environmental protections. However, each state can add its own legal requirements – and companies that provide goods or services in multiple states may be subject to different laws in each one.

 Commercial Law

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), a set of legal requirements regarding the sale, lease and purchase of goods and services, regulates commercial law.

Every state has adopted the UCC in some form, but many have made their own modifications to the laws. Because of this, a business owner needs an attorney who understands the UCC provisions enacted in the states where it operates.

Considerations in Hiring a Business & Commercial Lawyer

 Every industry has unique legal concerns. Therefore, when choosing an attorney, going with a professional who has experience in your industry can be beneficial. A lawyer who works with companies in your niche will be able to offer practical advice and smart solutions to legal issues, while also taking industry practices and ethics into consideration.

People often start searching for an attorney when the need for legal assistance becomes crucial – and that late in the game, the amount of help a lawyer can provide may be limited. To avoid lost profits and canceled contracts, and to protect their legal interests, business owners should hire an experienced lawyer early on.

If you want to work with a reputable lawyer in the greater Salt Lake City area who has extensive expertise in business and commercial law, turn to the award-winning legal professionals with The Franchise & Business Law Group.

Our dedicated attorneys have decades of experience helping Utah business owners, and our client-centered approach and forward-thinking advice earn us many referrals. We take pride in offering the first-class service of a large legal firm without the matching high price, and our breadth of knowledge ensures our team can meet your needs.

For more information about The Franchise & Business Law Group, or to schedule a confidential business and commercial law consultation with one of our expert attorneys, contact us today.