We know that intellectual Property (IP) is important when setting up a new company or project. But just how important IP is (for example doing a trademark check before starting a project), has been proved again by the failed business project of Instagrammer Anna Nooshin.
Anna Nooshin is one of the most well-known influencers in the Netherlands. With over 900K followers, she has an enormous reach and popularity. The creative star launched a new and progressive project under the name ALTER, back in 2018. The project consisted of a magazine and a clothing line.
Shortly after the big launch of the new project, we did not hear much about Nooshin’s project anymore. Nooshin had stopped with the project and in May 2020 she revealed why. Turns out another company had an earlier right on the name ALTER for similar products as those of Nooshins project. Nooshin received a cease and desist letter and had to cease the selling of those products and cancel the entire project. The result: a loss of EUR 180.000 investment.
Unfortunately this is a classic example of how things can go wrong when you start with a project or company without giving attention to IP. And giving attention to IP also means doing a trademark check. Doing a trademark check is a basic requirement when starting a new project or company, certainly when you are dealing with large investments.
Always do a trademark check
You should always do a trademark check before you start with a new project. This means you should also do a trademark check when you don’t necessarily want to register the name, but you want to start a project or company under a certain name. Because, if the name you want is already taken, this can cause big problems. Do the trademark check in the different trademark registers, but also online and in the trade register. And, of course, you should check the different versions of the name, not only the identical name.
The story of Nooshin’s failed business deal is one we can learn a lesson from. A lesson on how not to handle things in IP perspective. But, how should you handle these things then? Before you start investing in a project or company, it is very important to first give attention to IP. Do the trademark check, realize the importance of doing a trademark registration and also consider other topics like copyright research, NDA’s, licences, and potentially i-DEPOT’s. Definitely do not simply start with a project, because before you know it, you will receive a cease and desist letter and lose your investment.