Do I need a trademark or patent to start a business?

Do I need a trademark or patent to start a business?

Do I need a trademark or patent to start a business?

Starting a business for the first time can be exciting, scary, and sometimes – overwhelming!

You don’t need an MBA or any formal training, but there are a lot of business formalities and requirements you’ll need to know about when setting up the business.

There’s a business license, choosing the right business structure, creating a website, a logo, getting a patent, trademark, etc., etc.

As a first-time business owner, these requirements may seem a lot and discouraging when creating your business. However, if you know where to direct your energy and what’s vital you will have an easier time getting your business off the ground.

In this article we discuss more on trademarks and patents and whether they are really necessary when starting a business.

So let’s start with the most common question;

Do I need a trademark or patent to start a business?

Technically, no. There is no legal requirement for you to register a patent or a trademark to start or operate a business. However, while it might not be a legal requirement, filing for a patent or registering a trademark can help protect your business from potential IP theft or legal troubles down the road.

So how do you know whether you need a patent or trademark when starting a business?

Here are a few guidelines to help you decide on whether a patent application is right for your business when getting started.

Patent application

A patent is used to protect an invention. It can be used to safeguard a new design, process, or idea from being copied by competitors. If you have a unique product or invention it is important that you protect it from copycats.

Are patents necessary when starting a business?

It depends. If a patent gives you a significant advantage over your competition then it might be important for your business to thrive. If you are also aiming at licensing your invention or using it as a source of revenue then a patent might be necessary to keep copycats at bay.


A trademark protects names, words, symbols, colors, or sounds that help distinguish your goods and services from those sold by other businesses. It includes slogans, business name, logo, or a catchphrase.

When do you need a trademark?

Whether to register for a trademark is a choice you make if you want to establish a brand. A strong trademark will help establish a brand that is successful and one that stands out from the competition.

So if your business is getting to a point where you are investing a lot in branding or marketing your business name or products you will want to protect it using a trademark. A trademark will prevent other businesses from copying your brand or creating confusingly similar products or services to the ones you offer.



As we’ve seen it is not a requirement for you to have a patent or trademark to operate a business. However, depending on your business a patent or trademark can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business. It is therefore important to take the above into consideration when deciding on whether a patent or trademark is important when starting a business.

If you have any other questions on IP, trademarks or patents feel free to reach out to us at Millar IP Law. We will be happy to talk and strategize about your business. Otherwise good luck with your business.

About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.

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