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Startup Festival

July 13, 2016, 8:00am

Vieux-Port de Montréal

Great line up including Dave McClure Renee DiResta Tim O'Reilly Kara Swisher Jevon MacDonald Tom Williams Carl Mercier Harley Finkelstein Alistair Croll Flack Mavelle Holly Knowlman Douglas Soltys Sean Silcoff Jason Goldlist and many more.

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Waterloo Innovation Summit

September 14, 2016, 8:00am

University of Waterloo

Amazing line up including Chamath Palihapitiya Walter Isaacson Patty McCord Mallorie Brodie Mike Katchen Steven Woods and others.

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Yikes - there are two Toronto-based software startups in the news recently using the same brand name. I wish them both well so won't get into naming/discussing them here (and hope no one else does as well), but there is an important lesson for other entrepreneurs here (their trademark is actually registered / defended by yet another Canadian software company, and there is also another US startup with the same brand name, not to mention another well-heeled registered trademark owner in other classification..all using the same brand name :O )

When you launch a startup or think you have that unique product name you are really excited about, it is worthwhile to see if anybody else in your general domain is also using it. Try searching the US and Canadian trademark database for the exact word and for mis-spellings and similar pronunciations of it. It is free, and even filing an online application yourself (for a very unique name) is straightforward after some coffee or beer and costs only about $200-$300 (done it a few times in both countries, and my background is programming!). You can look at successful applications filed by others professionally to use as a template from the publicly available trademark databases. If you can afford it, obviously hire a lawyer to do it for you. Having a registered trademark gives you the upper hand with getting preferred treatment from 3rd parties when someone else has cyber-squatted on your name, even though inadvertently.

Someone here wisely noted that traction is the new IP, but hey, choose a unique enough name so people can differentiate your service from the others and also so that no one else can prevent you from using it in the future after you have already built some brand recognition.

PS: If anyone with more experience here (especially IP lawyers) feel I am off base, please correct as the community here could benefit from it.
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Will MacMillan, Eric Kryski and 7 others like this

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Janelle HindsGreat timing. Looking to incorp my business and choosing a name for it and possibly the product is something on my mind.

2 days ago

Christopher PyperDude, don’t leave us hanging. What is the name?

2 days ago   ·  1
Christopher Pyper

Varun MathurSent you a PM with what I had dug up. I don't think naming them here benefits anybody - they are both doing great innovative stuff but I don't see how all of these can hold on to the same name in the same category in the same jurisdiction..

2 days ago   ·  1
Varun Mathur

Matt MastracciI've seen an example of a Canadian startup naming themselves after an actively-marketed product from another Canadian company that is arguably in the same space. It's a bit disappointing that they didn't do basic diligence on their name - or even worse, ignored the Google results.

2 days ago
Matt Mastracci

Andrew Noop SmithGreat advice! I trademarked Final Wish and it was very easy to do online. Also the staff at the CIPO (Canada) and USPTO (USA) are very helpful.

2 days ago
Andrew Noop Smith

Tom WilliamsLet's be clear, it's either a deliberate dick move or shows total incompetence of team to diligence market.

1 day ago
Tom Williams

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