Kickstarter provides an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneur to secure the funds necessary to start their business. Every business needs to protect the unique identifier that consumers come to recognize as their trademark. Kickstarter trademarks are no different, especially where backers, who become familiar with your name in relation to your goods or services, are funding your project. These backers establish a foundational base of goodwill.
Securing the Rights to Your Kickstarter Trademark
In fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides an excellent opportunity to entrepreneurs by allowing them to secure the rights to their name prior to actual use. Business owners that intend to use a trademark in the future may file an intent to use trademark to secure those rights as of the day of filing.
In order to rightfully file an intent to use application you need to have a “bona fide intention…to use” the mark in commerce. After you obtain registration you can claim the filing date as your date of first use even though you didn’t use the mark until after you filed. That’s the key benefit of an intent to use application; you reserve the name.
Is Establishing a Kickstarter Campaign Bona Fide Intent?
Bona fide intention to use a trademark can be shown a number of ways, including showing evidence of your Kickstarter campaign. However, you will most likely want to have documentary evidence regarding your intent. This hard evidence can be obtained by a business plan, documented marketing plans, prototypes, and promotional materials, among other plans to introduce your product or service.
Kickstarter Campaigners Should Protect Their Future Use
As explained above, by starting a campaign on Kickstarter, you are continually expanding your public recognition. Protecting that expanding public identity is extremely important. You don’t want others to cut in line and take the name that you’ve made widely known.
The way to prevent this unfair adoption is to protect your name via an intent to use application. If you’ve started a kickstarter campaign, think about protecting the name you’ll use as your trademark, before someone else does.
To see more information regarding intent to use trademarks please see our blog post: Intent to Use Applications – Trademark Reservations, Table for One.