Platforms like Shopify, Stripe and WordPress have done much to create the necessary business-building tools, such as running a storefront, accepting payments, and building websites for businesses with even the most modest budgets. But some very important aspects of setting up a company are expensive, time-consuming matters that can be cost-prohibitive for small businesses – but if it is ignored, before it actually starts, someone Business failure may occur.
Trademark registration is one such concern, and Toronto-based startup Heirloom raised $ 1.7 million CAD (~ $ 1.38 million) to address the problem with the machine-powered trademark registration platform, turning the process into a self-service affair Gives budget that will not be broken. If there cannot be official government trademark search tools, and even top-tier law firms, AI-based trademark search will flop when the current trademarks in the US and Canada can run.
Heirloom’s main focus is on leveling the playing field for small business owners, who have typically been significantly outclassed for any trademark conflict.
Herloom co-founder Julie MacDonnell said in an interview, “I am a senior-level IP lawyer, focused in trademarks, and a traditional model, practicing for over a decade at her boutique firm of large clients and small clients . ” “Hence providing large multinationals with brand strategy, and in-house legal, and then primarily serving small business customers when they were dealing with a cease-fire or breach issue. It really is the customers who hold my heart: It is incredibly difficult for a small business owner to literally cry tears over the phone with you, because they have just lost their brand or their business overnight. There was nothing else I could help with because the law was not just on their side, as they neglected to register their own trademarks. “
McDonnell says that there is, in fact, a lack of awareness about what to actually register and trademark. For example, many entrepreneurs starting first look for a domain name, and some fork over significant sums to register these domains. However, they do not realize that it is essentially a rental, and if you do not have the trademark to protect that domain, the actual trademark owner could possibly take it off the road. But even if business owners realize that a trademark should be their first stop, the odds are on to actually secure one.
“When it comes to brand safety for business people, it was a huge and dangerous barrier,” he said. “And that’s not fair. Every other business service, usually a small business owner, can reach. Incorporating a company or even insurance, for example, insuring and buying for your business is somewhat inexpensive and accessible. But the brand is not owned. “
Heirloom brings down the cost of trademark registration by several thousands of dollars, just under $ 600 for the first one, and only $ 200 for each additional thereafter. The startup is also offering a very small business-friendly ‘buy now, pay later’ option backed by Clearbank, which means even a business starting business initially moves to protect its brand Can lift.
In its early days, Heirlume is also offering its main trademark search feature for free. It provides a trademark search engine that works in both US and Canadian government databases, which can not only tell you if your desired trademark is available or already held, but also whether it is successfully received Likely, given the other conflicts that may arise, the native trademark database is completely ignored by the search portal.
Heirloom uses machine learning to identify these potential conflicts, which not only helps users discover their trademarks, but also reduces the workload behind the scenes, helping them lower costs. And pass on the benefits of those better margins to its customers. This is why it can achieve better results than hand-adapted applications from traditional firms, while doing so on a scale and at a lower cost.
Another advantage of using machine-driven data processing and filing is that on behalf of the Government Trademark Office, systems are looking for highly organized, curated data sets that are difficult to consistently correct even for trained people. Human error just in data entry can cause massive backlogs, McDonnell notes, even due to the overthrow of entire applications and starting from scratch.
“There are all kinds of datasets for those people [trademark requirement] Parameters, ”she said. “Essentially, we synthesize all of that, and the goal through machine learning is to make sure that applications fully comply with government regulations. We actually have a senior-level trademark examiner who is there for us Came to work, was very excited that we were solving the problems causing backlogs within the government. He said that if the heirloom can reach a point where the applications submitted are correct, then with the government There will be no backlog. “
Improving efficiency within trademark registration bodies means a low point of friction for small business owners when they move out to set up their company, which means more economic activity and upside overall. McDonnell eventually hopes that HerLume can help reduce friction to the point where trademark ownership is at the forefront of the business process even before domain registration. HerLume has an end-to-end partnership with Google Domains, which will ultimately be an indication of whether a domain name is likely to be included as trademarkable in Google domain search results.
This initial seed funding includes Backbone Angels as well as Future Capital Collective, Angels of Many and MaRS IAF as well as Daniel Debo, Bertrand Seswitt of Sid Lee and more. McDonnell noted that as his goal was to bring greater access and equity to small business owners for the protection of trademarks, the startup was also very deliberate in building its team and its cap table. MacDonnell, along with co-founders CTO Sarah Guest and Dave McDonnell, aims to build the largest tech company with a multi-female-identity technology team. Its investor make-up comprises 65% of female-identifying or undervalued investors, and McDonnell says it was a very deliberate choice that spurred this time, and even some of the major silicon Wally led to reduced interest from firms.
“We want funds to be given to underrepresented founders, and the best way to ensure that the change is done is to empower underpresented investors,” he said. “I think we all have a responsibility to actually do something. We are all now using hashtags, and hashtags are not enough […] Our CTO is female, and she has often been the only female person in the room. We are committed to ensuring that women at Tech are no longer the only people in the room. “