If you’ve been thinking about trademarking your business name or other intellectual property in your business, you’re likely thinking about all the exhaustive research you’ll need to do. For years, dealing with obtaining a trademark was sometimes more work than novices to the process really understood. That’s because you had to sift through countless trademark registries in order to find trademarks that might be similar to yours. And even then, you might have missed something that put you at risk for possibly infringing on someone’s trademark.
In many cases, businesspeople simply threw up their hands at this protracted mess and hired lawyers to do it for them. That’s still what most people do now when searching for trademarks to ensure legal thoroughness. But you have to wonder why there hasn’t been something invented earlier to make the process of trademark searching so much easier.
It turns out that someone had been working on it, though was just waiting for the right venture capitalists to get it funded. Onomatics, Inc. has been a company specializing in legal technology for intellectual property law. They’ve created a program called TrademarkNow that links up to world databases where trademarks are filed so you can find if anyone else has already beat you to the trademark. They also provide efficient legal procedures so you can find out if you can still legally trademark your own business name without being sued.
What makes this digital software even more useful is that it doesn’t use complicated legalese as you frequently have when working directly with a lawyer. TrademarkNow explains everything in simple language so you can understand everything while gaining expert analysis on whether it’s safe to trademark your intellectual property.
The only thing that’s kept it out of the hands of every business was the usual problem of waiting for proper funding. And it’s finally received it, which may change the protection of businesses in the coming decade.
Will TrademarkNow Become a Hit Digital Tool?
Recently, a venture capitalist decided to give a $3.5 million check to the company in order to help them jump ahead into wider circles. Considering the time and money it saves, every business may eventually gravitate to this software in order to fight off the emerging problem of creative oversaturation. If you do anything creative today that you want to protect legally, the chances are more than good that someone else may have created something similar. As unique as business names and logos seem to be, it’s become a maddening experience finding out otherwise.
Previously, some people just preferred to not know and just went with a cursory trademark research plan to make sure a business name wasn’t at least being used locally. The TrademarkNow software taps not only the U.S. Trademark Office, it also shows all trademarks internationally through OHIM and WIPO. And they say they’re soon planning to expand to other trademark registries, of which are numerous and can be easily overlooked.
If this software becomes useful in every company, it has the potential to finally put a kibosh on the perpetual litigation that happens over trademark infringement every day. At the same time, it could also prove disconcerting to some when they’ve spent extra time creating something they think will be perfect and unique, only to find out it’s already been done and trademarked.
Such is the life of trying to be creative in business today. The best we can do is to avoid spending half our business lives in a courtroom or paying out any profits to someone else.