Trademark to-do list for SMEs and startups

by | Apr 29, 2021 | Insights | 0 comments

Trademark matters can be overwhelming for startups. According to a recent EU study, only a small minority, about 9%, of SMEs in the EU have protected any intellectual property despite it dramatically improving their performance. You can read more about that here.

Here’s a simple list to help you get on the right path.


1. Basics

☐ Make sure your main brand is eligible for legal protection

☐ Identify all commercial identifiers that could be protected as trademarks

☐ Create a logo to give visual expression to your brand

☐ Make sure that nobody has registered or is using a similar name/logo


2. Protecting your trademark

☐ Decide what you want to achieve with trademark registrations

☐ Decide your budget

☐ Check for government grants and innovation programs to help you with costs

☐ Choose the marks that need legal protection

☐ Identify the goods and services that your trademarks should cover

☐ Evaluate whether legal help is needed to help you protect your trademark

☐ Identify in which countries you need trademark protection

☐ Submit your first application in your home country

☐ Submit foreign applications within 6 months of the first application

☐ Use WIPO’s Madrid System for international registrations whenever possible


3. Maintaining the trademark rights

☐ Use your trademark correctly

☐ Keep files of your cases and deadlines

☐ Save evidence of use of your trademarks periodically

☐ Monitor trademark databases to see conflicting applications

☐ Monitor the internet to find out possible infringements

☐ Deal with infringements

☐ Make sure others don’t use your trademark descriptively

☐ Renew your trademark registrations

☐ Re-evaluate and review the scope of your trademark rights and portfolio

☐ Rinse and repeat – start again from step 1


Going through these steps will get you ahead of most of your competitors. For another easy guide, check our Trademark Canvas.


Related Posts

Eurovision and trademarks

Eurovision and trademarks

The Eurovision Song Contest has been entertaining audiences for more than half a century. Read how intellectual property plays an important role for the artists and event organisers.