Josh Hartwell, CEO of MobileDeluxe, discusses a protective IP strategy. Four steps are given to achieve this successful strategy.
- Hire an IP law firm with a strong reputation
- Plan for any potential IP expenses
- Research for any existing trademarks
- Apply for trademarks & ITU's in every country you operate
Protecting your IP is one of the most important things that you have to do when you’re starting a company. And it’s one of those things that you don’t necessarily realize when you’re starting out as a small shop. So, four steps for protecting – for protective IP strategy especially as it relates to trademarks which are some of the easiest thing to be infringed.
The first thing you want to do is if possible, you want to choose a reputable IP law firm. Now, that can immediately trigger dollar signs in a lot of people’s eyes which is completely understandable. But if you can do it, if you can choose a reputable firm, then just having that name alone will solve so many of your disputes down the road.
The second thing you can do is budget for IP legal expenses. A lot of startups don’t set aside protection of their intellectual property. They might have a legal budget but it’s under funded for what’s necessary for protecting your IP. The third thing is you need to always search for existing trademarks. There are plenty of resources online even the US PTO. If you go to uspto.gov, you can do trademark searches in this country for any trademark. And you can find out whether our mark is live or dead. You need to always do that before launching a product, before naming a product aligned, even your company name.
Finally, I would say you want to file for trademarks or intent to use marks in countries where you operate. So, if you operate in Europe, then file there. If you operate just in the US, file there but you want to do that filing. You see it so often. A larger company can step on a startup and really overtake their mark if the filing is not there. But if you have a registration, if you have a filing with the government, you’ve got a much better chance if that company backing down when you call out any potential infringement.
So, if you follow those four steps, you should have a solid protective IP strategy for your trademarks.