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5 expert tips for marketing your start-up

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"Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?"

Steve Jobs

A startup can be thought of as a simple belief: a belief that you have a new product or service that will revolutionize the market in which you enter. However, look in the dictionary and he will tell you that a startup is simply a " newly established company ."

Personally, I prefer this one. A start up is a newly established business – the thing is, it has not done a lot of business yet, if at all. Therefore, it must be operational from the outset, potential customers in front of the door if possible.

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The competition is tough. With more than 28 million small businesses in the United States (accounting for 99.7% of all US businesses), the success rate – still in place two years later – is about two-thirds and only half will reach the 5 year mark

I interviewed David N. Sharifi, an intellectual property lawyer in Los Angeles, specializing in emerging technologies, the Internet of Things, federal trademark registration, and entertainment law. , and asked him some technical questions.

The first question I asked was, "What should I do to set up my new startup?"

He replied, "To put your startup and yourself in the best position to succeed, you have to be 100% sure that everything is in place, and one of the most important elements of this is your trademark. recording. Why? Because your brand is your brand. That's your name and your logo. This is so that your customers can easily identify you. This differentiates you from your competitors. It's just what people will type in Google to find you. Yes, it is so important. "

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Here is an example of the importance of a mark:

The SciFi channel decided to refresh its image and announced its new brand: SyFy. Apparently chosen because it is so young people send it, SyFy is actually a slang term for syphilis. It is very unlikely that any marketing guru worthy of the name advocates the association of your brand with a sexually transmitted disease.

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Throughout my interview with the lawyer and extensive research, I also learned that if you managed to get investments from outside sources, or that you are doing the bootstrap (any fate of your pocket, in other words), your brand can break you, or it is as simple.

Without further ado here are 5 expert tips to mark your startup:

Careful Creativity

The best brands are simple, obviously unique and easily identifiable. Once you have an idea of ​​one, you need the best due diligence to make sure it does not exist anywhere else. Get this step wrong, and the legal problems will consume you and your startup. It is crucial that your brand is new (literally) and 100% unique.

Do your research

Time for Google. Look for your brand name as completely as possible (think SyFy), and make sure there is no negative connotation. You can use Markify, a free trademark search tool covering the United States and Europe, to make sure you are unique. As a new US startup, your next port of call will be the US Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) trademarked electronic search system.

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Note: After your trademark application in the United States, you only have 6 months to apply for a trademark abroad, thus ensuring that it will be backdated to your date d & # 39; registration in the United States.

Your trademark application

The trademark registration application filed with the USPTO opens a legal proceeding. Because of this, the more diligent startup will hire a trademark lawyer like me to make sure that all the pitfalls are avoided, and your application meets all the legal requirements.

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Here is an example:

Your startup must clearly demonstrate that you are using this trademark on a commercial basis, and, most importantly, on several lines of the state requiring the transmission of money and products / services of One state to the other. Both are legal requirements.

Seeking legal advice

Due to the legal status of a trademark and its high level of protection, a lawyer may be essential to solving the problems that, if left unaddressed, would significantly increase the costs and risks of a company. 39, a startup.

Rejections and Cancellations of Marks

After submitting your application, you are waiting now. Many months, actually. It may be rejected or, after being granted, another company may sue to cancel it. Remember, the trademark law protects both the consumer and the company.

For example, if another company is able to prove that consumers will simply be confused by two similar names, your registration may be canceled.

It is vital for any new business not only to recognize, but also to fully understand the legal requirements of a trademark registration. These 5 expert tips, including creativity, research, applications, legal advice and refusals / cancellations, are designed to give you some of that understanding. Remember, protecting your trademark is about protecting your startup.

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What's the biggest concern about brands? Please post your questions below.