Surprisingly, even the federal government can find itself in trouble with maintaining control of its intellectual property. Such is the case with the National Park Service and Yosemite National Park who according to a recent Associated Press article has found itself in a dispute with its former management/concessions company over the ownership of the various names of Yosemite National Park’s hotel, campgrounds, and ski resort.
Lack of Clear Lines Cost Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park will now most likely be forced to change the names of many of its longstanding attractions. How could this happen? Yosemite National Park failed to recognize the importance and value of its names by having clear agreements with its subcontractor’s defining the ownership of trademarks and by protecting the names of its attractions by filing for federal trademark registrations on the names of the park’s attractions.
Instead, the former management/concessions company was able to register the names of Yosemite National Park’s attractions and claim ownership of the names the park’s attractions for a number of years. Now Yosemite National Park may be faced with the decision to pay a substantial sum to continue using the trademarks or change the name of its attractions.
Assert Your Trademark ASAP
This story is a reminder to entrepreneurs and business owners to assert your trademark ownership rights as soon as possible. In the U.S. you can even assert ownership of a name prior to actually using the name by filing an “intent to use” application. This allows a name to be searched by an intellectual property law attorney and cleared from any possible infringement issues and then protected by preparing and filing a federal trademark application prior to making investments in marketing, signage, labeling and all of the other expenses associated with pushing a business and/or product name out into the marketplace. All businesses have a name, and it is usually the business’ most valuable asset which is why the name needs to be protected through trademark law.
Don’t Lose Your Ownership Rights
These considerations also need to be taken into account for patentable inventions, trade secrets and copyrights. Companies and individuals can easily lose their ownership rights for failing to have proper agreements in place with co-inventors, partners, investors, employees, subcontractors and so forth. In the case of intellectual property ownership, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Call our attorneys today for more information or to set up a consultation!