You are here

Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand in 2016

March 20, 2016

Your restaurant’s brand is one of your most valuable assets.  To protect it, you need to do two things:  Stop others from imitating you, and avoid being sued.  These 5 tips will help get you there.
1.  Got a new name?
​    If you are starting a new venture, use proper due diligence to clear the name. You don't want to be sued, or find that you cannot expand to another city, because you did not do your homework.  A trademark attorney can help you search to see if the name is the same as or similar to a name that is already registered as a trademark, or if someone else is using the same name. The same rule applies to catchy names for menu items. Once you select a name, or are down to a few choices, your attorney can file intent-to-use trademark applications to help lock them down for you.
2. Got an Established Name?
    Register your trademark!  A registration gives you the presumptive nationwide right to expand, among other benefits.  
3. Got a Logo?
    Did you hire an outside company to design your logo?  Chances are that you do not own the copyright, unless the designer specifically assigned to it you.  Ditto if you had an employee design the logo but that was not part of his or her normal job duties.  Register the logo as a trademark and copyright.
4. Got a Website?
​    Make sure you own the intellectual property in your website. Otherwise, the website design company may own it.  Have your attorney review your web development agreement.
5.  Got a Great Overall Design Concept?
​    The overall look and feel of a restaurant can be protected as a trademark if it is sufficiently distinctive. If you hired or are hiring an outside designer, make sure that you own the concept and that it is exclusive to you. Your attorney can review the design agreement.  Think about filing a trademark registration.


By Janet Satterthwaite and Steve Kabler, Potomac Law Group
Potomac Law Group’s attorneys in our Restaurant, Wine, Craft Beer, and Spirits Practice are experts in helping answer all of these questions. To learn more, contact Steve Kabler at or 202-294-8716, or visit us at