A tratdemark is one of the most important aspects of any business, regardless of its field of work. It says a lot about the quality of its services, the products it sells, its origin and safety, the diferences between the business and its competitors, as well as other characteristics that may prove to be important for its target audience.
In the case of startups, there are serveral investiments being made: time, money, effort, advertising, development of products and services, marketing, etc. All of these aspects are essential as to how the public will recognize the origin of your products and services, whether they are potential clients, colaborators, competitors, etc. After a while, these investments add market value to the business.
With regard to the importance of these efforts, we created a step-by-step of how to register a trademark in Brazil, from its creation until its final registry. Check it out:
Choosing the name of your startup
How should you chose the ideal name for a startup? Look at some of our tips:
1. Brainstorming session
Brainstorming ideas in a group (usually, you and your partners) is the first step towards identifying essential characteristics of your business, the sensations and associations which you intend to covey to customers, as well as values and ideas of your products and services. Try to create names starting from these aspects.
2. Choose names that best describe your startup
It is usually important to compile in a trademark what your startup is all about, without being too obvious. There is the classic example of Netflix, which executed this idea in a really smart way, by joining internet (net) and movies (flicks) on its trademark.
3. Try to avoid generic and highly descriptive names
In order to crate a good brand, you have to stand out from your competitors. You will not be able to put that into practice by using highly descriptive and generic names, which other businesses will also be able to use. Instead, try to find a name that it is different from everything else, making your brand unique and avoiding customer confusion.
4. Verify which names have already been registered
It looks too bureaucratic and hard, but it is not: by means of a few clicks you can verify if someone has already registered the name your company would like to use. The Brazilian app Registro de Marca will help you do that free of charge, by consulting the database of Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (National Institute of Industrial Property), which is the governmental office responsible for safekeeping trademark registries in Brazil.
Even if a trademark has already been registered, you can verify if its market and consumers are different from yours. That way, you avoid causing confusion among your target consumers.
5. Why your logo should have a great design
A logo and the visual representation of your trademark says a lot about your startup. You can share with your customer several values, characteristics and sensations by means of a design. A minimalist logo can transmit professionalism and sophistication, while a colourful and playful logo may indicate relaxation and youth to your brand.
On the other hand, a logo with amateur design can actually diminish business opportunities, push back certain customers, wrongly identify your startup with other businesses and even damage the idea that your company intends to convey.
The importance of registering a trademark
Why is it so important to register a trademark? What are the advantages? What are the risks? Check it out:
It is a way to add value to your business
All of the investments made in the development of products, marketing strategies and research are, in some way, connected to the name of your business. After a while, your trademark will acquire value, reputation and trustworthiness in the market.
Exclusive rights for your startup
The goal of every startup is to grow, to find a business model which is sustainable and, eventually, become successful. Have you considered reaching theses goals without owning exclusive rights of your trademark? In that case, you would have to rethink all of your marketing strategy. After a while, a trademark becomes a valuable asset of a company, being able to be sold, licensed and franchised.
Trademark is a sign of origin for services and products. When you invest in the quality of what you offer your consumers, there is market confidence and greater consumer loyalty. Therefore, your business will maintain more consumers and they will have the guarantee that the product or service offered has good quality.
It is another way to prevent unfair competition
Not registering a trademark means that your startup will suffer greater risks in the future. Unfair competitors may end up wrongfully using your name to baffle consumers and take advantage of the investments you made, even though they might be in the market for a shorter period of time in comparison to you.
Administrative and judicial guarantees for your trademark
Regularizing your trademark is the best way to certify that your business has exclusivity to use ceetain names. The sooner this is registered at INPI, the greater is the guarantee that your business will not be subjected to claims of wrongful use of a trademark.
Understand how to register a trademark in Brazil
Registering a trademark in Brazil is easier than you might think! Check out a step-by-step of what should be done:
Create a name and a logo for your startup
As we explained before, create a singular trademark for the business field you intend to explore. And make sure it is available before iniciating registry procedures.
Pay the registry fee
Register at INPI’s website (click here) and pay the registry fee, which can all be done online.
The cost varies according to the nature and size of your company. For startups, it is usually low (about R$ 160.00). To see updated registry fees, click here.
Finish your trademark request
You can do it all online. You access this link, which takes you directly to e-Marcas, the online trademark registry system of INPI. In it, you can attach the visual representation of your trademark, for increased protection.
How your trademark is granted
To grant your request, INPI verifies if there is no business with an identical or similar trademark on your field. In addition, your request is published so that other companies can verify is there is any confusion between their trademarks and yours. This process usually takes 60 days.
f your trademark is approved by INPI, they make a certification available at the closest of their branches from your business. The next step is to pay a fee for the first ten years of maitnance and protection of your registry. For smaller business, such as startups, it costs around R$ 298.00.
Now that you have taken all these steps, it is easy to rest assured that your trademark will not be used by other businesses. Not only are you guaranteeing exclusivity of the name you chose, you will also be able to freely invest in the creation of a visual identity for your business, marketing, advertising strategies, products and services.
By Lucas Anjos
Founder and Vice-President of the Institute for Research on Internet and Society. Has a Law Degree from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and is currently a M.A. student at the same institution, with a scholarship from CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education, a Foundation within the Brazilian Ministry of Education). Specialist on International Law by CEDIN (Center for International Law). Assistant professor for the International Economic Relations and Law Courses at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Lawyer and member of the ABRI (Brazilian Association for International Relations)