Five Common Kickstarter Trademark Mistakes - Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Protect your trademark logos, slogans, and brand names by avoiding these common mistakes. Trademark registration is essentially an insurance policy for your intellectual property.
The following are some of the most common and disastrous trademark mistakes made by entrepreneurs on Kickstarter.
FAILURE TO FILE A TRADEMARK APPLICATION ASAPFiling a trademark application before you launch your Kickstarter is ideal, but it is never too late to seek protection for your brand.
If you don't register your trademark, anyone else can.
Once you file a trademark application, you are 'in line', and have a priority over others who file after you.
NOT FILING AN INTENT TO USE TRADEMARK APPLICATIONKickstarter may not count as 'use in commerce' for the purposes of a US federal trademark registration.
An 'intent to use' application allows for the filing of up to five extensions to show that you are using the mark.
This can be a valuable tool by protecting your trademark rights while product development is still ongoing.
SELECTING A DESCRIPTIVE TRADEMARKYou cannot register a trademark that describes your product, its qualities, or its features unless you can show that the trademark has acquired distinctiveness.
If you are just launching on Kickstarter, it is unlikely that your descriptive trademark has acquired distinctiveness among consumers through longtime use.
If you want to describe your product or its characteristics, a slogan is a much better way to do so.
FAILURE TO SELECT A STRONG TRADEMARKThe more distinct your trademark, the more protection you will receive under trademark law.
The strongest trademarks are those which are completely made up (Kodak/Costco/Publix); or arbitrary in nature (Jaguar or Mustang for vehicles).
Almost as strong, is a suggestive trademark (WITE-OUT), which does not describe anything, but rather, suggests a link between your trademark and the products that it represents.
NOT CHANGING YOUR TRADEMARK YOURSELF BEFORE A LAWSUIT FORCES YOU TOKickstarter is often a testing ground for both products and brands. If your brand cannot be trademarked, it is best to change it as soon as you realize this.
Descriptive trademarks or those likely to cause consumer confusion carry more risk and increase exposure to copycats and trademark infringement.
A comprehensive trademark clearance search and routine monitoring or the mark is essential for any serious brand.