The truth is, if you want to win a trademark infringement suit, it will probably cost you around two years and $150,000. To win a patent suit, tilt that number to around half a million. As Cheryl Connor makes apparent in a Forbes article, it is hard business protecting your assets from copycats.
Up Pretty Early in the Morning
The only way as a smaller business to protect yourself is to get started early. Connor quotes IP attorney Nicholas Wells, who says:
The immediate answer is that small businesses should plan ahead and should invest in an IP strategy, rather than just throwing money at a registration or two. Review with an intellectual property attorney how likely infringement may be and how a combination of patents, trademarks, trade dress, copyright, and trade secret protection might stave off trouble.
That is, uh, mostly all that can be done right now. The truth hurts, huh? You can read more of Connor’s article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/11/19/how-to-protect-your-business-from-copycats/