In the course of my business dealings I’ve come across so many situations where hindsight would have been a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to the matter of trademarking your brand. There is no such thing as being ‘too prepared’ and even more so when you are building the company that you’ve poured your heart and soul (and money) into. There also is so much to think about when starting a company that often the exciting bits like logo and doing up your premises will take precedence over things like insurance and trademarking. Here are some of my key tips to help you sidestep any possible pitfalls.
1. Do a search on that business name
A quick scan of Google, although a good place to start, just isn’t going to cut it – you need to do a search for registered trademarks which may not automatically appear in Google search results. If you are planning on selling your goods overseas then make sure that your search includes the countries you plan on doing business in.
2. Research your competitors
I cannot stress how important it is to get the lie of the land in not only your local area but also your national industry. Not only do a search of registered businesses in the area but a social media scan as well. Not all competitors have their names up in lights!
3. Use a reputable logo designer
The temptation is always there to use a family member who is a dab hand on the PC or a design purchased from a crowd sourced platform because the costs are lower but it is not always worth the risk. A reputable designer will research your competitor’s logos to avoid any copying or infringement whilst at the same time working hard to ensure you have a recognisable identity. They should then sign intellectual property rights over to you once the final invoice is paid.
4. Trademark what you can afford immediately
Every business has limited resources when starting out but it is so important to protect what is yours. If you can’t afford to trademark the logo mark and name separately then trademark them as one which will afford you some protection. Some of the saddest cases I’ve seen have been where small businesses have been finally forging ahead only to be cut back by the costs of having to rebrand and remarket because their brand has been trademarked by someone else. Someone who is then going on to leverage the goodwill and customer base that they have put so much effort in to build up.