Are trade marks important for startups?

Trade marks such as names, logos, sounds and colours have the potential to be of huge value to any organisation due to their ability to build brands and drive profits.

Some people argue, however, that the particular challenges new businesses face make successful trade marks especially beneficial.

How important are trade marks for startups?

Launching a new business is notoriously difficult with startups liable to face a range of challenges, including:

Finding a suitable trademark for their business

A startup will need to ensure that this is not already protected by a competitor who can rely on an earlier right to prevent use of the brand.

Making customers aware of their goods or services

A startup will probably be up against seasoned competitors who have far greater recognition among consumers and finding a name and branding that sets a startup apart, is really important.

Establishing a reason for customers to switch suppliers

It is not enough for a startup to make customers aware of their presence. Buying habits can be hard to break and if someone has been using the same supplier for many years, they are likely to need a compelling reason to switch to your business.

Shortage of funds

New businesses must often focus their available cash on essential activities – with little available for additional areas such as protecting their branding or marketing campaigns.

The negative effects of not owning your brand

Without a trade mark in place, a startup can be asked to stop using their name and have to change their brand, packaging, media presence, domain and company names and to also pay some costs to the owner of an earlier right. Investing in the protection of a brand as soon as possible is strongly advised so that a business is secure in the knowledge it can trade with their trademark and has the tools to protect itself against competitors.

Lack of professional support

Protecting a start up business can be daunting as there are so many considerations and costs associated with this. Taking professional advice to ensure your brand is available and can be protected, will save time and money in the long run. Without securing registration of a trade mark leaves owners of businesses having to rely on unregistered trade mark rights, which can be difficult and costly. Common law rights accrue over time. However, in order to rely on “passing off” based on an unregistered right, you have to demonstrate a significant reputation/goodwill in a trade mark. Often  lack of resources for what could be a costly legal battle, will see a business unable to take the action it needs to stop a competitor using a trade mark too similar to its own interests.

What are the benefits of trademarking for startups?

We saw above the problems that face many startups. A successful trade mark registration can help address these issues in a number of ways.

Increased recognition by customers

A memorable brand name, striking logo or catchy jingle can greatly increase consumers’ awareness of a business – and often leads to valuable word-of-mouth promotion.


A trade mark that encapsulates a startup’s commitment in areas such as quality, pricing, innovation or customer service can help it to gain a vital foothold in the market.

Market expansion

Even without the funds for a major advertising campaign, a successful trade mark can help a startup break into its initial target market and provide the impetus to expand into new areas.

Legal protection

This issue underpins all of the benefits described above because for a word trade mark, logo, slogan and so on to provide maximum benefit, its creators must have exclusive rights in it.

Trade mark registration offers much stronger legal protection than common-law ‘passing off’. Relying on a registered trade mark with the threat of legal action often is enough to deter intellectual property theft.

How can Trademark Eagle help my startup protect its trade mark?

Our expert team has a successful track record of helping new businesses to protect their intellectual property and deal with trademark infringement. We will be delighted to guide you through the registration process and offer further bespoke advice to ensure that you are the only one benefitting from your trade mark.

Please get in touch for more details of how we can help your startup.

Call: 01223 208 624


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