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Business planning should consider intellectual property

Intellectual property is an important component of today's business world and allows creativity to thrive in the marketplace. It enables entrepreneurs with good ideas to move forward with their plans without fear of somebody else stealing their ideas and taking away from their potential market. This means businesses must ensure that the trademarks they use are not infringing on a previously registered trademark. Incorporating this into a company's business planning is essential, but one California company is currently being accused of failing to do just that.

One out-of-state university is suing Wharton Business Foundation for using the university's trademark without permission. The university filed the complaint in federal court at the end of March. The university alleges that the company's use of the trademark is making consumers confused between the two entities, which could cause the university to lose ground in the marketplace.

The defendant has been running a website with the trademark name to offer business education, business consultation and a variety of other services. The complaint also states that the defendant's advertising and toll free telephone number uses the trademark name as well. The university has been using the registered trademark for business consultation since 1953 and has been using the name since 1881.

The plaintiff is asking the court for a jury trial and is requesting an order from the court to bar the California company from misusing the registered trademark. This case illustrates what could happen if a company does not take into consideration the importance of intellectual property in its business planning. Making sure there is no infringement of registered trademarks, copyrights and patents can help avoid future lawsuits for those looking to start a new company.

Source: Bloomberg.com, "Apple, Wharton, Del Monte, DuPont: Intellectual Property," Victoria Slind-Flor, March 31, 2013

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