17 Apr 2022
Some of the Trademark Mistakes Your Start-Up Must Avoid
A start-up company should consider various aspects while registering its trademark. There are some common trademark mistakes that a startup entrepreneur would make with respect to a trademark. To enjoy the benefits of trademark registration, make sure that you avoid the following mistakes that will be cited below in the next section. Every business in the world is working literally hard for the attention of its audience, which will identify you by the name of your brand. Given how valuable brands of successful business grow to be, it’s not just logical, it’s imperative. Yet, many start-ups delay trademark filing or vastly under think it, which could lead to significant losses. If you’re building a business, think seriously about the ambition you have for your brand. When you’re ready to register your trademark and you should do so sooner rather than later- the potential size of your brand will determine a lot. Here are 4 mistakes with examples of start-ups whose trademark missteps have affected their brand. Trademarks allow business owners to distinguish their product or service from others and make it easy for consumers to recognize their offerings. Considering how critical this is for a business, avoiding common trademark mistakes can be highly valuable if you are a business owner with creative or unique offerings.
COMMON TRADEMARK MISTAKES
The start-ups life is busy as always. But not that busy that someone cannot file the registration process of trademark on time. While it will only be registered two years later (bureaucracy works, but slowly), you can start using the TM symbol within three days. Yet, many start-ups, including large ones, delay this, assuming it’s unimportant. But remember that if some other business trademarks the name, slogan or logo you thought was yours, you may have to bid it goodbye, depending on the strength of its claim to the name.
For example, if you have a Car rental business in Delhi with plans to start services nationwide, and another business, selling t-shirts across India, trademarks your name before you do, your brand may be locked into Delhi. You may wonder how likely it is that another company would come up with the same name. It probably is rare, but instead of taking such risk get a trademark which cost just ₹6,000.
A trademark gives you rights over the use of specific images, words and designs. However, these rights are limited unless you register you trademark. As this article explains, registering a trademark is not required, but it does have a significant benefits. When you register your mark, you make it easier for the public and other businesses to see your trademark and avoid using the same one.
Further, registration makes it easier to file for protection in other countries and take legal action against parties that use your trademark without your permission.
Neglecting a trademark is another common mistake, as people do not always realize they must maintain it. Maintaining your registered trademark involves:
Failure to do these things can mean losing your trademark rights.
Before you start using a logo, design or name for your business, it is crucial to conduct research to ensure you are not infringing on someone else’s trademark. If you infringe on someone else’s trademark you may receive a cease-and-desist letter that prohibits you from continuing to sell any goods or services with the trademarked material. This action can result in costly losses stemming from redesigns, repacking and renaming. Further, you could face legal action that results in a court order to pay considerable damages.
Having a trademark does not necessarily stop others from infringing on it, intentionally or accidentally. Thus, holders should monitor their marks. You can do this by running internet searches to look for possible infringement, setting up alerts and checking the official website for similar trademark applications.
Failure to monitor your trademark can increase the likelihood of infringement and potential financial losses. If you use a trademark in your business, avoiding these mistakes can be crucial in protecting your rights and avoiding messy legal disputes.
For instance, you should avoid using the term “Milk” in your dairy product’s name. Alternatively, call your excellent bonding product “Glue.” A generic term is non-distinctive, and trademark experts believe non-distinctive trademarks are unenforceable in court.
This sign is intended to let others know that you believe the term you’re using is your trademark. This will grant you common law rights in some nations. However, this does not imply that the mark is legally protected and that you may sue anyone who uses it infringingly. If that’s what you mean, you won’t be sued for it. The use of TM isn’t usually considered a fraudulent trademark assertion. In conclusion, you are free to use it in any way you see fit.
Is the trademark registered in your name, your attorney’s name, or the name of your company? Get it clear and to the point from the start. If this isn’t obvious, problems will arise if and when the brand or trademark is sold in the future. Who is compensated for it?
The trademark registration office may send you an office action letter throughout the registration process. You’re going to get into problems if you file it away and forget about it. An office action letter indicates that your trademark application has a problem or issue. You should react very away or have your attorney respond right away because if you don’t, your application will be abandoned.
If the notion of utilizing a filthy term or phrase for your trademark has had you all worked up, empty your mind, take a deep breath, and relax. Although you may believe you live in a time where anything goes, there are still certain legal restrictions on the use of profanity, obscenity, and other “vulgar” terms and phrases, as determined by the court. After all, do you want your business to be marketed by lowlifes?
For small businesses, it’s common to choose trademarks based on where they operate. Such naming may help attract local clientele, but the name can become a barrier to future growth. It’s possible to overcome this problem: Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining became 3M and Kentucky Fried Chicken is known internationally as KFC. But when developing trademarks, think about all the potential global markets you might eventually want to reach, advises Davis.
The more characters in your naming and branding, the less likely consumers will remember your company. Startup attorney Steve Cook points to successful one- or two-word company names: Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart. “Even PricewaterhouseCoopers doesn’t use its full name, but goes by PwC,” he says. When thinking of trademarks, brevity is key.
As more and more media and advertising channels pop up, trademarks that stand out from the crowd become more and more important. You might be able to get away with a generic name if you’re the first company in a category, says Davis. But unless you’re the next General Motors or General Electric, you need to use words that separate your company from the competition. By taking the time to write and develop branding that is unique and memorable, you can carve out a niche that no one else can touch.