We are about to launch our new B2C startup (based in Germany targetting the German-speaking market first, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland), but hopefully later expanding to English-speaking countries.
The product is in quite a niche marketplace. Aimed at students and providing some kind of a learning platform. We're not anywhere near the next-big-thing such as instagram.
We have come up with a fairly unique name, and already registered a few domains with .de, .com, .net, etc.
We are now considering whether to kick-off a trademark application process, first in Germany, then in the EU, then elsewhere (US?). However, we are not sure if this is too premature, if it's even necessary unless we become really big enough to have a competition or someone with a keen interest in either suing us, registering our own name as their trademark and so on. The cost is not huge, but certainly mounts up for a small, under-funded startup company...
What is the best course of action? Ideally taking as little risk with as little spend upfront. Do we really have to worry about this now?
Most advice we hear seem to be on the side of caution, always assuming the worst-case-scenario, what-if "big fat publisher" sues you, or what if "sneaky competitor" grabs a similar name and trademarks it before you - how likely are these scenarios in practice?