Small Business Patent, Trademark News

Small businesses are innovators so it’s no surprise that today, patents and trademarks are important considerations for small entrepreneurs as tools to protect new products and new ideas. How can you best protect your greatest innovation or that which sets your product or service apart? Read on to understand how patents and trademarks are important to your small business today.


Is a change in patent law good for small business? No, say a bi-partisan group of small business and intellectual property advocates who fear the new overhaul passed in the U.S. House will favor big business and start a race to the patent office that disregards who originated a product or process. The law is being hailed by others as a way to solve a current backlog in patents and spur job creation. Los Angeles Times

Why the patent overhaul could hurt America. A release in response to the controversial “America Invents Act” anticipates small business, fearing the need to defend new inventions and products from legal challenges, will resort to “trade secrets” rejecting the disclosure of inventions for the benefit of progress which the patent process was meant to encourage. marketwire

Another point of view: does a first-to-file approach help the little guy? The sponsor of the patent overhaul legislation insists that it is better for small innovators who can’t afford to face endless patent challenges in court. But can a law that favors those who file first really favor innovators or just those who best understand and have the best resources to help navigate the patenting process? What do you think? Politico


Recent court decision shows how patents can protect small business. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling pitted software giant Microsoft against a small Toronto company holding a patent on XML editing technology that it is alleged Microsoft used in its software package. The decision forces Microsoft to pay $290 million to i4i, a tiny Canadian tech company. Do you have a valuable process or product in need of patent protection? Business News Daily

London Olympics controversy shows importance of trademark. A small business created to promote tourism in Great Britain during the 2012 London Olympics may face a lawsuit from the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games because the committee members say the “2012” in the company’s proposed trademark creates an unauthorized association with the games. Daily Mail Online


Why small businesses need a Trademark search. Without a proper Trademark search, you run the risk of loosing all you have worked for with a substantial investment in a product, name and brand that don’t belong to you. See the link above for more on the importance of and the procedure for a trademark search before your product or business launch. Women Grow Business

Choosing the right trademark. There are many aspects that may go into selecting the right trademark name, but, in the end, possibly the most important two questions are: Is it valuable? and, can I protect it? Here is a bit of Trademark 101 for the uninitiated. Planning to start a business? Need to understand the kind of trademark needed to create an enduring brand presence without challenge? Read on. 365 Days of Startups


Where trademarks and SEO collide. One of the areas in which trademark and online marketing create the greatest conflict for entrepreneurs these days is in the paradoxical need for a unique name eligible for trademark protection and at the same time a domain name generic enough to indicate a company’s basic offerings. Choose a name that is unique and unusual, and your domain name no longer has the same impact in search results. Choose a term too generic and it cannot be trademarked. 365 Days of Startups

Trademarks in the era of expanded domain names. What some would describe as an almost infinite number of new top level domain names is coming soon to the Internet. And attorneys estimate more trademark disputes as businesses may strive harder to acquire a top level domain name associated with their product or service. How will the new expanded number of domain names going way beyond such limited choices as .com and .org impact your business marketing?


How do you best protect your business’s intellectual property. Equally important, learning to avoid violating someone else’s intellectual property rights, is the focus of increased outreach from small business advisers and the segment of the legal community serving small business owners. How much do you know about your rights and the importance of protecting what your business creates? Press of Atlantic City

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.