Trademark search engine Trademarkia has launched a domain name search and registry service that allows users to check whether a domain name is trademarked before they buy the rights to the site.
Trademarkia’s domain service went live with a soft launch in April, and was officially released this week. The service automatically checks the United States’ Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and the U.S. Trademark Electronic Records Retrieval (TARR) system during a user’s domain name purchase process, and warns users if a name or a similar one is already protected.
The launch is the latest step in the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup’s quest to become the “GoDaddy of trademarks,” CEO Raj Abhyanker told me in an interview last week.
“Raw data is kind of boring and hard to understand, but trademarks can actually be really interesting. They’re indicators of big companies’ market strategies, and what’s hot and what’s not,” Abhyanker said. Trademarkia’s service tackles fairly difficult technical problems. “Governments have old legacy databases and old computer systems, so the information has to be put into a database that’s scalable and shown with analytics that make sense.”
Trademarkia claims its trademark search engine and the new domain name service can potentially save small businesses thousands of dollars in rebranding costs and attorney fees. According to Abhyanker, thousands of small businesses have to change their business names and websites because they have unwittingly infringed upon someone else’s trademark. Trademarkia along the way has also stirred up a lot of anger from IP lawyers who compete with the company.
Trademarkia’s money-saving information is apparently something that many people are willing to pay for upfront. Trademarkia is profitable and on track to collect nearly $4 million in net revenue on $13 million in total gross sales for 2011, Abhyanker told me. Those are impressive figures for a less than two-year-old company that has not taken on any venture capital investment. And larger players in the space have started to take note of Trademarkia’s traction.
“We’ve had a couple of [acquisition] offers on the table recently,” Abhyanker said, though he declined to provide specifics on the prospective buyers. While Trademarkia will continue to consider any strategic offers that come its way, for now, the company is taking its time to continue to build its business independently. “We’re cash-flow positive, so we don’t have to sell,” he said. “But our primary goal is to organize the world’s legal information and make it understandable to people. That presents pretty big challenges for a self-funded company. But we’re very happy about it right now.”
That approach adds Trademarkia to the list of startups opting to do business the old-fashioned way– with a real product, real customers, and real profits. It remains to be seen whether the company’s somewhat scrappy and independent approach will allow it to truly compete on the level of GoDaddy, but there’s no doubt that Abhyanker is passionate about the space and working as hard as he can to make it happen.