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5 Trademark Guidelines for Startup Businesses

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We live in a global economy, which means that we also operate in somewhat of a single marketplace. Whether your company is located in Canada or your business is situated in Singapore, you need to be aware of a wide variety of aspects related to commerce.

If you fail to adhere to certain laws, then you could face litigation from a foreign entity.

Case in point, trademark law. It is truly amazing how far reaching trademark law can go. Recently, there was a case whereby Apple had filed a lawsuit against a Chinese merchant because he was selling items that pretty much copied the iPhone maker’s trademarks.

No matter how big or small you are, you could be faced with lawsuits. And, yes, even if you are a startup, you should be well equipped to handle trademark matters.

Here are five trademark law tips every attorney will give startups:

1. Perform a Detailed Search of Trademarks

The very first step you need to take is to conduct an in-depth search of trademarks. For this, you will need to visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), which will help you perform a search and determine what trademarks are or are not available. It’s tough, but it’s necessary.

2. Select Your Name Carefully

Here is the hard part: choosing a name for your business.

You need a name that is straight to the point, but unique at the same time. It should also be available in the trademark search because you don’t want to overstep your boundaries.

Moreover, if you wish to trademark your business identity, then it can’t be generic or vulgar. For instance, you couldn’t trademark “What?” but you could trademark “What’s That A Boot?”

3. Abide by Terms, Qualifications & Requests

Every jurisdiction has its own sets of terms, qualifications and requests that you must abide by. For the good of your startup, you should abide by them at all times, even if you think it’s wrong. By doing this, you can avoid the bureaucratic, red tape hassle that comes with IP concerns.

4. Always Think Global – Even at the Beginning

Remember when we mentioned at the beginning about foreign issues? Well, here we are.

Whether you are selling goods abroad or you’re thinking about establishing operations in foreign territories, it is important to always think global when you’re working on the trademark of your small firm. You need to consider overseas trademarks, too.

One of the best things you can do is to eventually register under the treaty established between your country and the market that you want to enter. This makes trademark law easier to handle, especially if you have the help and guidance from a trademark lawyer.

5. Ensure Your Trademarks Keep up with Your Growth

One day, you’re a team of three with a single room and one product. A year later, you’re a team of 23 with a large corporate head office and dozens of different products.

Suffice to say, your initial trademark is not keeping up with your growth. Change that!

Moving forward, as long as you grow, you need to update your trademarks so they are able to adapt to the ever changing conditions of your company. Now that you’re a top dog in the global marketplace, you don’t want somebody to infringe on your intellectual property.

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