Prior to entering an industry, businesses face several barriers that limit their scope of achieving initial success. These include anything from high start-up costs, to building websites, to creating online portals for the transfer of payments. But recently, several platforms have been created for the purpose of helping nascent businesses with such issues. For example, Stripe, Shopify, and WordPress have all worked to make sure small businesses with a limited budget can complete the preliminary steps to establishing themselves without a large cost.
However, there is a certain barrier whose incompletion can pose a serious problem to businesses, even after they have seemingly set themselves up. A trademark registration gives someone an exclusive right to the trademark of a certain good or service. Due to the legal implications surrounding it, it is an essential part of the pre-establishment phase of a business. However, the complicated process, as well as the costs involved, means that some businesses either skip this step, or face grave consequences even after they have started their sales.
However, there is an answer to their conundrum. Heirlume is a startup based in Toronto that has worked to address the issue of trademark registration by creating an online platform that helps small businesses when encountering this step. By using artificial intelligence, its trademark search will alert its clients if their businesses breach any trademark laws in the US and Canada. The company’s main aim to ensure that small businesses have a fair chance in terms of trademark registration.
Heirlume’s co-founder, Julie MacDonell, is a lawyer who managed a firm that helped both small and big clients. Her experiences with the former in part was a reason for the development of Heirlume, as she stated that several such clients lost their businesses, simply because they either failed to complete their trademark registration or because the law does not work in their favour.
There is also a lack of knowledge about how trademark registration actually works. Several entrepreneurs seek initially seek a domain, and incur various costs in order to secure and register that domain. However, they fail to realise that if they do not have a trademark registered to the domain, the actual owner of the trademark and reclaim it in the future. In case a business owner does realise that trademark registration should be their first step, there exist several barriers in trying to securely obtain one.
Heirlume works to reduce the cost of trademark registration for $600 for the first time, and $200 for each additional use. Moreover, a user-friendly “buy now, pay later” business model has been offered, and is financially supported by Clearbanc, a Canadian lending firm. This means that businesses that are trying to enter an industry can ensure that they are protected from legal consequences when they start out.