Written by Lic. Nicole Pérez, associate attorney at CLD Legal.
In these quarantine days, different topics arise on social networks this is a big mistake, it’s bread for today, because they’ll certainly have cash flow, and hunger for tomorrow.
They’ll ask me why I’m hungry for tomorrow? Certainly, in the absence of an adequate intellectual property strategy, there are risks that must be taken, such as cease and desist letters, and claims for misuse of intellectual property, among others.
Now, why should you do it? There is a saying inside Panama that says “don’t eat bread today and hunger for tomorrow”, this saying fits perfectly with the entrepreneur, who wants to position his product and/or service quickly in the market, often following the Lean Startup method, so legal costs are investments that are made when they have already developed a minimum viable product, having some recognition in the market and having recovered some of the initial investment.
This is a big mistake, it’s bread for today, because they’ll certainly have cash flow, and hunger for tomorrow. They’ll ask me why I’m hungry for tomorrow? Certainly, in the absence of an adequate intellectual property strategy, there are risks that must be taken, such as cease and desist letters, and claims for misuse of intellectual property, among others.
All these processes will need legal advice and lead to a higher cost as we are talking about resolving a conflict. Thus, you should probably stop the process of marketing, climbing and lowering stairs, and even being forced to rebrand or pay damages, probably running out of bread and hunger knocking on the door.
These situations can be avoided, if we have a trademark protection policy with a preventive, rather than reactive, commercial and legal strategy. The process basically tries to review – analyze – protect – monitor.
The first step, once you have decided on the brand name of the venture is to check that it is available. It must be understood that availability is a broad sense, meaning that there is no similar or/an identical mark, this analysis should be done based on legal considerations, specifically on the doctrine and legislation in Trademark Law, even if the information is public, it is necessary to have an analysis of an expert on the subject.
The corresponding registrations must then be requested. In this case, the number of registrations will depend on each venture since each business may have a “mother” mark or main brand and “children” brands or secondary brands that bring value and distinction to the business.
Finally, once we have the right, we must defend it just as we would defend our house from a thief. Trademarks grant a right of ownership, but unlike physical or tangible property like that of our homes, it is a property over ideas resulting from our creativity and intellect.
The registration process is quite smooth whenever you are advised by an expert on the subject, it is important that you can have a commercial and legal notion so that the registration is functional and helps you to position in the market. In this case, the trademark attorney should know your short-, medium- and long-term plans.
It should also be able to advise you beyond registering. As I always say “it’s not registering by registering, it’s doing it strategically.” Now I’m asking you what you prefer, bread for today and hunger for tomorrow? or bread for today and bread for tomorrow?