How many startups have trademarks?

Feb 21, 2019 | Trademark Blog

Meet Taipei became a great market study for us to know more about the state of how trademarks are perceived as part of a startup’s long-term strategy.

We managed to get the information of 138 booths, and checked with their company name if they have registered their trademarks in Taiwan, China, US, and EU.

Only 50% had applied in Taiwan, 8% in both Taiwan and China, and 1% applied in all the said geographies. A staggering 41% hasn’t applied yet for ANY trademark.

What does this tell us?

For those who only applied in Taiwan, it could be that they are just beginning to study their markets, refine their positioning, or having products that are made for domestic market only. It is a good step already for these companies, since they can duly protect what they own and make their mark in the market. The problem can ensue in the latter stages when the legal and marketing team doesn’t have a clear communication on the trademark guidelines, as what happened in the chocolate packaging case study. Even changing the way a logo is presented or a slight variation in shape, could create some trademark infringement cases.

China is one of the biggest trading partner of Taiwan, and hence the next expansion target for most companies is China. Like Taiwan, China is first-to-file country, whoever applies for a trademark first will obtain the registration even if you are the one who uses the trademark first. As the country is notorious for numerous trademark infringement cases by foreign brands, or cases of trademark squatting, the more important it gets to have your trademark registered there.

Applying for trademark in all relevant geographies ensures that you won’t face any problems in re-branding your product. Most companies tend to be passive about this strategy, only applying for trademarks once the product is already in the market and significant resources have already been spent. Trademark registration should be a risk mitigation standard that should be followed by big and small companies. Smaller companies might be less willing to spend resources for trademarks, but the future costs that could ensue for  a trademark infringement case is definitely higher.

Planning to register your trademarks? Contact us for a brief trademark research and let us help you define the best trademark strategy for your brand.

Do you want to talk to us about trademarks? Ask some questions?