Medesthetics

APR 2018

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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You might think your business has the greatest name in the world, but if you can't actually use it, it will do you far more harm than good. This is why it is well worth spend- ing a few thousand dollars upfront to research existing trademarks and secure protection for your brand. A business' brand is among its most valuable assets. When patients think of your facility, your practice name and logo are likely the fi rst things that enter their minds. Whether you already operate a practice or medspa or plan to open one, understanding trademark laws can help you protect your brand and avoid costly lawsuits over trademark infringement. Here is a quick primer. WHEN TO TRADEMARK If you are planning to use a name—other than your own personal name—for your medical practice or medspa, fi rst do a trademark search for that name. For example, if you would like to call your business Effervescence Medical Spa, make sure that name or a similar name is not already in use in the spa, medspa or medical aesthetics industry. The United States Patent and Trademark Offi ce (USPTO) offers a free trademark database search on its website (uspto.gov). Also, keep in mind that a trademark can be denied—and an existing company can make a claim of infringement—if you choose a name or logo similar enough to an existing brand to create a "likelihood of confusion." "Before they hire a graphic designer to develop a logo or business name, businesses should engage an attorney experienced with trademark law to determine whether there may be any confl icts," says Jim Stanford, a partner at ByrdAdatto, a business and healthcare law fi rm located in Dallas. "I've run into problems so many times where a company spent all sorts of money and resources developing its name and logo, only to fi nd out that there's a confl icting use out there and they have to change everything." If a thorough search of existing trademarks reveals no similar uses, the next step is to apply for a trademark to protect your branding. First, the attorney and the business owner must decide which elements of the brand they need to protect. "We need to identify the goods and services associated with the trademark to determine what business classifi ca- tions they fall into, prepare a description of the goods or services and put the application together," Stanford says. "If the client has a logo or design element in addition to the business name, it's often advisable to register both through separate applications to obtain broader protection." WHAT CAN BE TRADEMARKED? The USPTO does not allow common use terms to be trademarked. These might include "plastic surgery practice" or "skin care center." 24 APRIL 2018 | Med Esthetics © GETTY IMAGES LEGAL ISSUES | By Alex R. Thiersch, JD Trademark laws can help you protect your brand and avoid costly lawsuits. THIS NAME'S TAKEN

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