The Importance of Trademarks

For many entrepreneurs, building value for themselves and shareholders by coming up with innovative ideas, developing strong products and executing on sales and operations comes naturally.  But many entrepreneurs overlook a key area of value creation: their brand.  For many businesses, their brand is their most important asset.  Starbucks’ brand, for example, is valued at over $10B.  So protecting one’s brand is important, and this is done through trademarks.        

Both investors and entrepreneurs are artists in their trades. Whether it be that they come up with the idea or see the colors before the brush has touched the canvas. These ideas have nourished the United States economy and never go out of style because they are one of the best assets a company can connect with its consumers. Trademarks are ideal for customer loyalty, investor motivation, and the entrepreneur’s wealth.

An entrepreneur’s idea can evolve into an asset by many revenue streams. However, the mere idea, in itself, when protected becomes an asset. According to Professor Dan Ravicher, the director of the University of Miami’s School of Law Start Up Practicum, “a business’s success is dependent on its reputation and its brand recognition.” Additionally, the trademark will be any word or phrase that distinguishes the company from other companies. The company’s trademark does not protect ideas, instead the trademark protects some indication of source, such as brand names. Because trademarks represent consumer recognition and goodwill, they can be extraordinarily valuable assets, and act as a portion of a company’s overall value.

With more ventures headed to all areas of South Florida, the more intellectual property litigation will be needed unless the entrepreneur executes its due diligence in intellectual property. The ‘Cane Angel Network's investment analysts help with trademark due diligence.  The ‘Cane Angel Network, recently worked with one company, SurMark, to file their application to trademark their brand.  This ensures that others are not able to encroach on the company’s brand and diminish its value.  While this is not a complicated practice, a licensed attorney who is approved for making such files is required, another service that the ‘Cane Angel Network can provide.

The US Patent and Trademark Office provides helpful guidance which you can find here.  With the help of an attorney, the application should take only a few hours of work, but the benefits will accrue over the life of the business.  The value of a company’s brand grows over time, and must be carefully managed and protected.  That starts with a good trademark. 

This page was written by Ms. Farah Sheikh and Jeffrey Camp.  Ms. Sheikh was a member of the Cane Angel Network and completed her Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami’s School of Law in May of 2020. Mr. Camp is the Managing Director of the Cane Angel Network.