In part 2 of our “Advice for Future Franchisors” series, we discuss protecting your brand. Once you determine that your brand can be franchised, it is time to get to work. The very next step is to hire an Intellectual Property attorney to trademark your brand. We recommend trademarking the name and the service mark or logo for your franchise. This step can be a very lengthy process because the United States Patent and Trademark Office takes an average of 18 months to complete a trademark registration. However, before filing, make sure that the mark is well researched by an experienced Intellectual Property attorney to ensure that the mark is available and strong enough. Many good “sales” names are too generic to qualify as a mark under the legal guidelines. Remember one of the main items you will be selling in your franchise is your mark, so take time to ensure that it tells the right story. Take for example “Roosters®.” When you hear “Roosters®” doesn’t it make you think of breakfast? Well it did us too, unfortunately, it is a mens barber shop. We would argue that the name is not a big help in the sales department, so keep this in mind when choosing a name. The name will actually affect the franchisee’s potential sales as well as yours. The good news is that you are protected once the mark is filed, so you do not have to wait until the actual registration is complete before you can start franchising. Stay tuned later next week for Part 3 of our “Advice for Future Franchisors” series, and always remember that if you would like to contact our offices to discuss franchising, we can be reached in our Tampa, Florida office at 813-625-9590 or our Austin, Texas office at 512-535-0090.