17 Seconds #56 – A Publication For Clients And Other VIPs Of Clocktower.
You have, no doubt, heard that adage that a good idea with great execution beats a great idea with good execution. But if the execution is more important than the idea, does that mean that trademarks are more important than patents?
Both patents and trademarks are important for startups, but for different reasons.
Patents are granted so that people with great ideas come to and enrich the country that grants them. (For more info, see the Venetian Patent Statute of 1474, from which all modern patent laws derive.) What this means, in today’s language, is that if you have a product that is better/faster/stronger than the competition’s product, then you should be able to get a patent for it. That’s what patent laws are for.
A trademark, as the name suggests, is the “mark” of a “trade” and are designed to protect tradespeople from similar looking or sounding trademarks. Our general advice for trademarks is that you should use what you register and register what you use; that you should register your “big four” trademarks (name, logo, tagline, products/services); and that you should file in countries where you have significant business, partners, investors, or potential acquirers.
Sometimes you will not be able to get a patent, so what becomes more important is the branding, the product, the trademark. And sometimes you will be able to get the patent. But if you have patented the idea and trademarked the execution, then that’s a formula for success.
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