Trademark Fundamentals for Start-ups


The increasing awareness of trademark fundamentals goes hand in hand with the increasing competition in the technology industry. Even though the competition is intense, building up a trademark is essential for any business. With contenders battling about regular words that have been being used for quite a long time, it’s no big surprise that the new tech companies are so anxious to catch trademarks. In case you’re just beginning, these trademark fundamentals for new businesses will enable you to embark the right journey towards trademarking and its importance for brand owners.

trademark fundamentals

Trademark Fundamentals are necessary to understand

A general conception that most startups believe is that you need to register the mark prior to its utilization since registering of a trademark will provide safety until the product is developed. Although it is quite logical, yet the supposition is reverse in reality. But why should you use the mark before? You should utilize your trademark fundamentals in business prior to registering so that in order to build up your rights. In case you’re the first to utilize your trademark and your organization utilizes it actively in the market, at that moment itself, you achieve the common law trademark rights regardless of the possibility of registration.

In the event that you have a unique trademark, which does not violate or infringe upon any other person’s trademark rights, utilizing the mark would be the ideal step since it will give you a head start in building up your rights. The active utilization of the mark will help you to protect the mark against any infringement and act as an important point before the registration process goes through.  Therefore, the general idea behind doing so is to use the mark first and build it as your own before receiving approval for registration.

Claiming Does Not Need Registration

Regardless of the fact that your mark is registered or not, a contender has the right to claim for the infringement on the off chance that you pick a comparative mark.  Therefore, you must carefully look into your proposed trademark at the databases provide by the USPTO and conduct a general market search in your industry. On the off chance that another organization is utilizing the same or has a comparable mark, leave the thought of that logo and move ahead.

The entire concept of trademarks is based on FCFS – “first come, first serve” premise and doesn’t make any exception on who petitioned first, if two contending organizations are in a battle over the utilization of a specific mark. The important question asked in this tangled process is: who used the mark first? Therefore, you can draw out the conclusion that however most a registration is essential; it’s not really the first checkpoint in the process.

Originality of the trademark

Not every mark can be a trademark, regardless of the possibility that you have utilized it. What you must understand is that although a few descriptive trademark fundamentals have worked well for few companies, however, a generic term is not eligible for an obtaining a trademark, such like the “The Refrigerator Repair Company”. As a tech organization, this is an essential refinement, since most of the tech companies’ step forward for securing their property at national as well as at a global level. Since characterizing unique terms and expressions is exceedingly troublesome in the tech industry; the companies have shifted to trademarking the original terms like Skype, claims the trademark to “silk”, Facebook trademarked “FB,” “F,” “Face,” and “Wall”.

This rapidly changing environment of a trademark through the range of available options has extremely challenged today’s scenario where there is a necessity to protect even the basic terms.

Relate to the Tech Industry but Name with Unrelated

The flight between the industries is all about the services and good, surely a merchant dealing with convenience store cannot deal with the tech industry. Like a retailer has competition with other retailers, and sumo wrestlers’ fights sumo wrestler, the tech startup competes with the tech startup. So lawsuit from the other industry should not worry you much. An effective example of this is Google, if you happen to notice the code name of Android version OS that is used by the company, you will come across the words like Éclair, HoneyComb, GingerBread and so on. Although this was not the case for KitKat, where the main story behind is that KitKat was the favorite candy of the team during the time of K release, so the company approached Hershey for the consent to use the name as one of the code names of the Android version and also serves the purpose of cross-promotion. Later you could notice the green color android symbol on the KitKat wrapper.

Lately, naming after dessert has shown a growing trend in the tech industry, but also it has shown that products can be named after the other products of other industries, thus a new naming system. This strategy is noted to be simpler in the process of fighting for the trademark to a term that is clearly connected with innovation.

Also Read: Trademark Watching Fundamentals

Utilizing the Right Symbols

Between the symbols, of circled R (®) and superscript capital letter TM(TM) one cannot use each and every symbol or simply just any symbol. There is a way to use each. The circled R symbol (®) can be used only when the words or phrase has been applied for registration and approved by the US government. Since you cannot use it until approval; you might just desire to establish the fact, this certain literature has been claimed by you and you possess the legal rights to it.

Whereas, the other symbol, superscript capital letter TM(TM), can be used prior to filing a trademark application and as well as during the application process. The TM short for Trademark is a mark or symbol used to represent goods like shoes and clothes. This, however, does not mean that it can be used freely. In case, a proper search is not conducted, there are high chances of facing a lawsuit. Only in compliance with search, you can find the result of whether a mark is free and not owned by anyone, only then TM can be used.

Also Read: Why do you need to have a Trademark Watching Service for your brand?

Exemptions to the Rule

Like the generic terms are not registrable, descriptive terms are troublesome too but every theory has an exception to it.  If you remember sometime back “Georgetown Cupcakes” became quite a news for obtaining five separate trademarks for the name.

As per record the application states, that:

 “The mark consists of the wording “GEORGETOWN CUPCAKE”. Above the word, “CUPCAKE” are three circular carriers; the first with a design of a stylized flower, the second with a swirl design and the third with a five-point star design”.

The example clearly points out that, in case, your company or item name isn’t naturally particular, one can always build up “secondary meaning” or “acquired distinctiveness”. This implies that the word or expression has acquired special significance among the buyer. The benefit that the tech startups have is of buzzing the product around through web-based social networking and online use. Additionally, a powerful advertising strategy can enable you to transform a term into a trademarked expression, while following the trademark fundamentals on the off chance that it increases enough attraction.

Therefore, trademarks are an intangible asset with a touchy subject, and you must know how to explore the advantage over the opposition.  We will help you to set up, advance, and secure your mark in a specific order to get a powerful balance. Allow our team at, The Trademark Search Company, comprising of 125+ experts to serve you in the process of conquering the domain that you desire.


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