Neil Wilkof writing for the IPKat recently posted about joint ownership of a trademark, in particular what termination options might be available when the relationship falls apart. He’s done a great job wrestling down the pros and cons of the various ways one can deal with the disposal of the trademark once a joint venture terminates.
Neil justifiably professes discomfort at the prospect of writing an agreement allowing for joint ownership of a trademark altogether, but at least Neil’s clients are one step ahead of the game. From my legal digesting experience, most of the disputes arise because, like a dewy-eyed marital couple, no one thinks the love of a lifetime could ever end. Or, they deal with all the other facets of a shared business but don’t realize that every business has at least a trade identity, if not a trademark per se, in order to plan for its disposition at the end of the relationship. Just knowing that some arrangements should be made has to be 99% of the battle, no matter what outcome you draft.
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