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American icon files lawsuit against upcoming company

Getting a business up and running is challenging for Michigan residents. Breaking new ground in a crowded market is tough enough on its own, but legal disputes can add more obstacles that must be overcome to find success. These business disputes often come from competitors or other companies who feel financially threatened in some manner by the newcomer.

For instance, Airstream Inc., the company that makes the iconic Airstream trailers, recently filed suit against a new business that renovates and rents old Airstream trailers. The claim alleges the new company infringes on Airstream's copyright and capitalizes on Airstream's reputation.

In its legal complaint, Airstream is asking for the court to prohibit the other business from using the Airstream name, which is something the new company apparently does not intend to challenge, as it is seeking to find a new name. However, Airstream has objected to other suggested names as being too similar to its own.

It remains to be seen how the intellectual property dispute will be resolved. However, the case is an important reminder of how business litigation can arise not only for long-established businesses that have been operating for years, or even decades, but also for newer businesses that are still trying to find their place in the market. Competitors or others with intellectual property rights frequently file lawsuits against newcomers, or threaten to do so, in order to mark their territory and protect their business.

Accordingly, new businesses need to know how to effectively respond to the claims of established competitors or intellectual property rights holders. A proper response entails not only knowing the law, so as to judge the validity of the alleged claims, but also knowing the proper strategy to employ to deal with the allegations. By doing so, new companies can defend themselves and get back on the road to finding success.

Source: Business Den, "Airstream rental startup hits lawsuit speed bump," George Demopoulos, Jan. 7, 2016

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