Andrei Mincov, Lawyer & Registered Trademark Agent, Vancouver, BC

How you treat your business’s intellectual property speaks volumes about you and your business.

There is only one reason an entrepreneur who runs a business under a great brand would refuse to get it trademarked, they don’t believe in their ability to build a great business or their dream is to build an OK business. Their number 1 task is not to make a costly mistake; will their friends laugh at them because they trademarked the brand for a business that went broke?

The real problem is that they don’t truly believe that they deserve to be recognized for something amazing.

Running a business is like riding a bike, granted, you must deal with operations and day-to-day challenges (turning the pedals), but you won’t get very far unless you know exactly what you’re building and where you’re going. At best, you’ll be going in circles. At worst, you’ll get a vertigo and fall.

Never make decisions about trademarking based on where your business is today. These decisions must be made based on where your business may be if you’re really successful.

The Coca-Cola Company trademarked its brand (which is now valued at 80 billion dollars) long before it became a transnational corporate giant. Filing the trademark application was one of the first things the company did in 1892, when it was selling just 9 drinks a day. Why? The owners believed that they could build a business that one day might become a transnational corporate giant. Could this investment have been a waste of their money? Of course, but compare the risk of wasting a few hundred or even thousand dollars (in today’s money) to the risk of failing to protect what will be worth tens of billions of dollars one day.

When you don’t protect your brand, you are sending a very clear message to your customers, business partners and competitors. You are saying, “I am not sure if my brand or even my business will still be around in 2 years!”

So if you are running a business that you hope might be successful one day, protect your brand now! To start, find out if your brand is trademarkable.

Entrepreneurs who have built multiple successful businesses have automated the “come up with an idea , come up with a brand, trademark the brand” process the same way most of us have automated “wake up, wash face, brush teeth” process. Trademarking is truly a habit of highly successful business owners.

Are you going to be one of them?