Just a little girl, big imagination
Never letting no one take it away
Went into the world (into the world)
What a revelation
She found there’s a better way
For her to be
Look for the rainbow in every storm
Find out for certain rules gonna be there for you
P.S.: This song truly narrates the journey of every budding Entrepreneur.
This song fits in perfectly in this era of Entre-world, where the ‘Entre’ tag is topping the wish-lists of a zillion. A trend has been observed where after reaching a certain level in the Entre-journey, people crave for a time machine to redo the basics which they ignored.
‘Entrepreneurship is a metaphor for pitfalls having a brief phrase of success.’
It’s better to know the rules to avoid the storms in the journey. The most common tempest is ‘Infringement’. Once you get caught-up in such infringements, the bottom line is to search for a time machine rather than a rainbow.
Let’s go through these Rules which will avoid Trademark infringement:
Rule 01: Being First is immaterial, check for Usage or Filing!
Every country follows a different blueprint to authenticate your big imagination by providing protection to the one who is FIRST to either
‘USE’ or ‘FILE.’
Are you in India, The United States, The UK or Ireland?
The government favours innovation and provides a platform to try your hands to execute it rather than getting caught up in approvals and red-tapism. These countries have adopted ‘First to Use’ phenomena for providing Trademarks rights. Entrepreneurs enjoy liberty of protection without even applying for the same. In the case of any infringement or objection, the plea that they were the first to sell goods in the country is enough to win.
‘Apple’ a fruit taken by Apple Inc. no matter Beatles had the first mover advantage.
Are you in China, Germany or France?
The Government propagates, come to us with your crazy idea, don’t you try it unless it is not protected. These countries have adopted ‘First to File’ phenomena for providing Trademark rights. No matter how big your brand empire is or how it was stolen, there is no defence available in case you are not the first to stand outside the Trademark department.
Apple is still struggling to prove, ‘iPhone’ is its prodigy and not a leather bag, in China.
P.S.: A two hours of research on the Trademark Registration process can make all the difference.
Rule 02: Don’t doze off like the hare; tortoise might become your nightmare!
Entrepreneurs being novice tend to assume their brand once marked by the government is secured for eternity. However, the first to use or file does not provide your brand infallible protection in all respects.
Your brand can be used or call it misused in other ways.
Which Dove do you recognise? Former is a Soap and the later a Chocolate brand.
A registered mark has a limited protection. Not all brands marked can maintain a unique identity of their brand and enable it to distinguish it from another.
Trademark protection is provided to an entrepreneur in consonance with goods and services. There are many goods and services which have been broadly divided into 45 categories under NICE classification. Getting a Trademark does not give you exclusive protection under all the classes. It protects your interest in just those specific classes you applied for the rightful ownership.
In case, you happen to end up in a Trademark rustle; there are no grounds available to get awarded to collect for damages. So plan the scope of your brand wisely.
P.S: Don’t doze off like the hare, even after being the first mover, you might not have the same level of protection as registered brands.
Rule 03: The Main Check is the Domain check!
In the current scenario, there exists two parallel worlds, the one which you just secured through quasi- registrations and the latter is the web-driven world.
The rule is: Your company isn’t a virtue, if it’s not virtual.
With the entire world getting tossed on the internet, every company is on a spree to secure their websites to influence the purchase decision of their target audience.
There is a wide range of domain formats available apart from the basics, .com, .edu, .gov, .org era. However, it laid a foundation for ‘second level’ domain disputes. A top level domain cannot have two identical second level domains under it.
For example, “Taiwan.com” will be legally owned by just one. A Chinese news organisation Xinhua owned the domain, and the government of Taiwan could not enjoy such privilege.
In the .com world, Taiwan.com can coexist with taiwanland.com. Two similar domain names might not get approved; the higher bidder wins the auction.
Cybersquatting is illegal in many countries. In the case of any disputes, you can approach domain registry. To avoid such rat race, don’t let the first mover advantage to get exhausted.
P.S.: Chanel suffered $1 billion damages, it’s better to be safe than sorry later. Use techno software to search the domains beforehand.
Rule 04: The most lucrative store in town is the App store!
An average consumer spends most of his time in the Mobile app than mobile web.
According to the statistics, there are around 70,000 new apps created very month in various categories for both Android & IOS . Every day a billion people download such online applications either from Apple’s App Store or Google Play or Windows Phone Store etc. In India, there were around 6 billion downloads last year.
Many companies or individuals creating apps often forget to protect their interest by getting the name trademarked. Intellectual property protection extends to apps provided ‘first use’ grounds can be substantiated with evidence.
Ripple Labs Sues Kefi Labs and App Developers for trademark infringement amounting to $2million for the usage of ‘Ripple’name.
P.S: Mobile App is the new hype! It’s better to safeguard the interest for a better play. Conduct an exhaustive search in various apps to avoid infringements.
These are not theories but rules!
Know the storms before you start off with your rainbow search. Having a complete insight of legal analytics gives an edge in this uncertain entre-world.