Brand Clearance for Startups

Ensuring your brand is available

Startups must have a brand they can use. A rebrand is no fun when it's forced upon you. And that's a real possibility if you infringe on the rights of another brand owner. Securing registered rights in your brand is the safest option.

Branding is impossible to ignore in a new venture.

Every new venture needs a name, so even if you don't think you have a brand—guess what.. you have a brand!

So you might as well be intentional about selecting your brand so you're positioned for success.

Importantly, that includes checking you're free to use the brand, and that it can be protected.

Elements of a compelling brand

Naming a new venture can take a ridiculous amount of time. The perfect name has at least these attributes


  • A meaningful brand conveys brand essence and positioning.


  • A compelling brand is distinctive, memorable and differentiated.


  • An accessible brand is easy to say, spell, recall and search.

Future proof

  • A future proof brand maintains relevance as business evolves.


  • A protectable brands means there is the possibility of securing registered trade marks for key elements of your brand.

Why brand clearance and brand protection?

Designing a brand can be a whole huge deal.

The focus here is though is outlining the critical aspects of brand clearance and brand protection.

Brand clearance means you can use your brand without infringing upon the rights of other brand owners.

Brand protection means you can also secure registered trade mark for your branding.

One of the key benefits of brand protection means it's a reasonably simple process to prevent others from using your brand.

Brand clearance is essential, and brand protection is definitely recommended.

You can do an online search check for the same and similar brands in your space. There are also searchable registers of registered trade mark rights administered by the applicable government agencies.

Registered trade marks exist in specific categories, so the same name can often co-exist in sufficiently differentiated sectors. You may need professional advice to get a clear view on brand clearance.

International brand protection

Brand protection is country-by-country. This means brand protection should be planned from the outset especially if you envisage your venture to be international in scope.

There is an international trade mark application process available. There are administrative and cost savings available, and many advantages over filing trade mark applications directly in individual countries.

Benefits of brand protection

Brand protection via registered trade marks has many benefits. These include

  • Automatic protection
  • Simple enforcement
  • National coverage
  • Searchable rights
  • Tangible assets
  • Customs control
  • Access to domain name dispute procedures
  • Access to social media and marketplace dispute procedures

Many of the benefits of brand protection are critical for B2C ventures, and often no less important for B2B ventures.

A rebrand might only be forced once a startup reaches a certain size, and comes to wider attention. Just when you're building up some brand equity and recognition! Hardly ideal.

A B2B venture might absorb such a setback, and call it a pivot.

A B2C brand can have more downside, and may struggle to recover.

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