Beginner's Guide to Trademarking
A common question for small businesses is, should you get a trademark?
While it's not necessary to operate, if you plan on scaling and want to save yourself headaches in the future then it is highly recommended.
There are so many different levels to intellectual property so it can get overwhelming. The quickest way to narrow down which one you should focus on is by differentiating between the different types.
trademark vs copyright vs patent vs design rights
For this post, we're going to focus on trademarking since that is the one that I applied for when starting Lumpsum Studios.
My first recommendation would be to go to your respective countries intellectual property website and search their database to see if what you want to trademark is available.
There is no point in applying for a trademark that is already taken unless you have special considerations that limit its use to a specific location ... etc
( more info on that)
Once you've got the green light, the next step is to figure out which class your trademark falls under.
Classes are universal and range from 1 to ____. Each class represents items that have similar characteristics and
The best way to look at this is..
The total cost depends on how many different classes that you use in your application. $250 is the minimum per class so if you add 4 different classes then you're looking at spending $1000.
Trademarks can take up to 6 months to be reviewed and if you're time sensitive and can afford it then apply as soon as possible.
Now what if you want to apply for a trademark in countries other than your home country?
Lucky for us small business owners, there's a system in place called the Madrid Protocol which allows you to use one application to apply for the same trademark in multiple different countries.
The Madrid Protocol is an agreement made up of contracting parties between 124 countries that allows for a simple way to protect your trademark geographically.
As expected, the cost increases with the number of countries you want to include but the most common ones I saw used by other companies are Australia, European Union, United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
Before you can apply for the Madrid Protocol you have to apply for the trademark in your home country, but you can apply for the Madrid Protocol anytime after.
contact your local IP office