When you have a startup. you're bringing original ideas and business concepts to the market, and you want to make sure to get credit for those ideas. You may have considered getting a trademark for your business. While we can't give legal advice on intellectual property law, we can give you some information and tips to help you decide if this is something you need to pursue.
What's the difference between a trademark, a copyright and a patent?
A trademark protects your business's identity. Your business's name, logo and motto can be trademarked. It must be applied for and paid for through a legal process that varies by country. If you're more concerned about protecting the ideas and content on your website, this applies to copyright. Anything that you publish as your original work is already protected under copyright; there's no need to apply or pay any fees. Finally, if your product is a completely original invention, you might apply for a patent, which would give you the rights to the product itself.
How is a trademark useful?
A trademark protects your brand, preventing others from using your company name or logo without your permission. If you want people to instantly think of what your company stands for when they see the logo, you might want to have it trademarked.
When am I ready to apply?
Trademark applications can be costly and complicated. While it's possible to do it yourself with enough research, many choose to hire an agent or lawyer, which adds to the costs. Make sure your name and logo are firmly decided; it's not a process you'd want to go through twice. However, as full approval can take months, you may want to consider applying even before your business launches if you're in a competitive field.
Is a trademark applicable worldwide?
You have to apply for a trademark in each individual country where you're doing business. Major global brands do this in nearly every country as it's necessary to prevent counterfeiting. It's usually only necessary to apply for it in your home country and in any other countries you plan to do business with.
Differences between trademarks, copyrights and patents
A trademark protects your brand
Consider costs and competition when choosing to apply
Trademarks need to be applied for in each individual country