• June 2018
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How Important Is a Trademark a Startup Company Name?

The advice among the startup community is to trademark at least your name and logo in order to prevent others from ripping off your company. A registered trademark will do this in two ways. First, your trademark will appear when other entrepreneurs conduct a trademark search before using your clever name. (Side note – you should conduct this search yourself if you haven’t already!) Second, if registering for a trademark fails to deter imitators then you at least have a sound legal argument in court.

There are two ways to register a trademark in the EU. A trademark can be registered at the individual offices of EU countries, or at EU level as a “European Union trade mark” (EUTM) at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Importantly, the EUTM system consists of a single registration procedure that grants the owner an exclusive right in all 28 EU countries. Check out the EUIPO website for some more general info.

Although you are based in Europe, I think it’s important to consider registering your trademark in the U.S. as well. This will provide your company with protection in the mecca of world commerce. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) makes it easy for non-U.S. citizens to register too. Although you can claim ownership of your trademark without formally registering with the USPTO, your rights are limited to the U.S. geographic regions where your trademark is used. Thus, registering your trademark with the USPTO will provide you maximum legal protection.

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