Learning from Microsoft's Hard Trademark Lesson: Your Technology Start-Up Clients Need a Multi-Faceted IP Strategy

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Microsoft introduced its Windows(R) product in 1985, but delayed filing for trademark protection until 1990. By this time, however, the public associated the word "Windows" with the specific operation of the software. The US Trademark Office initially denied Microsoft's application because of the Microsoft's successful marketing efforts. The result was that Microsoft almost lost its Windows trademark just as the product was becoming widely accepted into the marketplace. Today, Microsoft follows an aggressive and multi-faceted approach to IP protection. Any lawyer representing an early stage technology company should use Microsoft's experience as an object lesson why IP protection should be a fundamental aspect of one's business plan.

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