Abion / Blog / New Year, New Venture? Strategies for Success
IP protection for start up businesses

The start of a new year can often mean the start of a new business venture for the budding entrepreneurs among us. However, amidst the initial enthusiasm, it's crucial to lay a solid foundation for your brand through effective intellectual property (IP) and domain strategies.  

A recent European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) study highlighted the importance of IP and the link between those who had invested in their IP assets and company performance. This is especially clear in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) where they found that scaling startups that filed for trademarks and designs show a significantly higher possibility of attracting Venture Capital funding and double their likelihood of successful exits for investors. 

A solid IP strategy, which seamlessly aligns your trademarks and domains to your business plan, is key to ensuring the long-term success of your company. To guide you through this complex process, our experts have outlined the “must dos” every new brand should consider. 

Thorough Research and Early Checks

Thorough research and clearance checks are the core to a successful brand launch. It is essential to conduct extensive investigations on both the chosen brand name and domain registrations to pre-emptively avoid future legal claims or conflicts. By prioritising this due diligence and dealing with any early rejections (rather than post launch) will enable the potential for future growth.  

Securing Primary and Relevant Domains: 

Once the research has been completed and the brand name decided, it is recommended to secure the primary domain (e.g., .com) before filing for the trademark. Additionally, it is also a good idea to register other relevant top-level domains (TLDs), including those linked to typos or misspellings. By acquiring variations that align with potential user input errors or easy targets for cyber criminals you can safeguard your brand and prevent potential dilution. 

Remember, when registering domain names, it is recommended to only use an ICAAN-accredited registrar. 

Woman managing her domain names

Backorder placements 

If your dream domain name has already been taken, placing a domain backorder gives you the chance to register it before it becomes available to the public if that domain name’s registration expires. Using a domain broker is also a potential route to acquiring your desired domain. 

Monitor your brands 

The work doesn’t stop once you have registered your domain(s) and trademark(s), it is then important to monitor your brand for infringements. It is possible to: 

  • Track infringing domain registrations across top-level domains not under your control  
  • Monitor any new trademarks registrations that may be too similar to yours 
  • Track and enforce your IP rights on any infringing content, social media accounts, products or services. 

Set your business on a path to success

Christoffer Vedal, a Partner in our Norway office concurs with the EUIPO report, commented

𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙪𝙥𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙚-𝙪𝙥𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙉𝙤𝙧𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙟𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨, 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙧𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙄𝙋 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩."

Investing time and money in securing your IP rights and seeking professional assistance when necessary can set your business on a path to success in 2024. Don't overlook the importance of aligning your IP strategy to your company’s business plan – it can be the key differentiators in attracting investors and ensuring long-term brand integrity. 

Need financial support to protect and manage your IP rights?  

Good news! EUIPO and the European Commission have just launched the 2024 edition of the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund, which offers intellectual property vouchers for EU-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SME Fund 2024 follows the resounding success of the 2023 edition of the fund, which received over 35 000 applications. Read more here.

More information is also available on the EUIPO website: euipo.eu .

Image by peoplecreations on Freepik

Do you want to know how we can help you protect your trademark?

 Contact our lawyers and experts today and start your journey towards a strong trademark!

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