In 2013, Nikki Huganir and Erica Blumenthal launched their company: Yes Way Rosé. Although they were inexperienced and did not have a product, they had an idea of a brand that would, in due course, make their French rosé wines popular in America.
The young entrepreneurs’ inexperience came into the limelight when they created their logo and posted it on Instagram in an attempt to get some recognition online. Things took a curious turn after the post was liked and shared by their family members and friends. The logo the entrepreneurs created were turned into memes by users online and reshared all over the internet. To Huganir and Blumenthal’s dismay, the reshared posts did not have the creators’ names on them.
Trademark registrations are crucial when it comes to starting a business, yet many start-ups and business owners ignore its importance. According to a Forbes article, “Until a trademark has been registered at the federal level, it is possible that a competing business may claim it for their own use
“The trouble with an unregistered trademark is twofold. As a business owner, you run the risk of having your original mark infringed upon by another company… Additionally, it is entirely possible that the trademark you created may already be in existence”
The young start-up owners, Huganir and Blumenthal, learned a hard lesson. “It was this thing on the internet that seemed like the property of the internet,” mentioned Blumenthal. The entrepreneurs were shocked that no one mentioned their or the brand’s name when resharing the posts.
Trademarking a logo has a dual benefit. First, it protects the logo, and second, the brand is ensured that it is not using a symbol used by another company. Trademark protects various assets of a brand, such as the company name, logo, slogans, sounds, and colors. Not only does a trademark give a company exclusive rights over various brand assets, but it also makes a brand bulletproof.
The owners of Yes Way Rosé approached a lawyer friend, a trademark attorney, to trademark the phrase “Yes Way Rose” before launching their first product. Today, the brand is fulfilling its dream of serving French rosé wines.
A brand can apply to trademark its logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A company may apply for two kinds of marks with the USPTO: first, trademarks for goods and products, and second, service marks for services. Once a company receives a trademark certificate, it does not expire unless it fails to renew it every five or ten years.
Blumenthal suggests entrepreneurs apply for a logo trademark as quickly as possible. Her advice:
“Think about trademarking early, while you’re in the development stages, before putting your product in stores… and definitely before sharing it with the internet.”
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.