I share this story, not to scare you, but to help you understand the true value of your work.
A friend of mine spent the majority of a decade building a business, in the service industry, from scratch – a business that began in their backyard with a few dollars and a dream. By 2019 they had multiple employees, a large office space in a prime location with the ability to host 40-50 clients at a time. A business that had developed a community, including groups on social media channels, with new but mostly recurring clients.
The business had a protectable name, logo, slogans, client information, standard of procedures, workflows, client programs, and much more. They used this protectable information to develop a brand that was respected in the community, and would clearly identify them as the source. The clients of this business purchased merchandise and used programs developed by the business in their daily lives. The employees had access to sensitive information that was proprietary to the business. Merely a law student at this time, my hands were tied as to how I could help. But I knew enough that they needed to contact an IP attorney. An attorney who could identify protectable assets and develop a management strategy that fit their needs. They never did.
March 2020 was the beginning of a challenging year for everybody. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the business to downscale. They eventually approached a business model with low overhead and less employees. One of the former employees, using the already developed goodwill, opened a similar business in the same neighborhood. A majority of the initial clients of the new business were from the now downscaled business. The new business was using logos similar to the old business, even the clients that crossed over to the new business would use slogans and logos of the old business while promoting the new business. Arguably, the programs and client information that was developed at the old business was being implemented in the new business to encourage initial growth. The old business eventually closed down completely, and the new business is thriving with an ever growing list of clients with the core community originating from the business started by my friend.
I was not an attorney then, and that is an experience I will always remember because it was a scenario that should have been avoided. I tell you this story because it is imperative that you put yourself and your business in the best position to thrive. My friend and their partners never filed a single trademark application for any of the source indicators they had developed over the years. They did not take reasonable measures to protect proprietary information. Additionally, they never took the necessary steps to identify other protectable assets within their business. It is a lesson I take seriously, and with the help of Drishti Law I can assure you that you will have every tool at your disposal to protect your business.
Sahil Malhotra is an Intellectual Property Attorney, who founded Drishti (“vision”) law because of his vision in protecting dreams and ideas.
He provided individuals and small businesses with an opportunity to enhance their IP’s value by helping them register trademarks and successfully argue against office actions. In addition to his training and experience, he has been deeply involved in the multifaceted IP portfolio at UIC and continues to be associated with IP organizations and conferences.
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