Securing Identities with Viktor Johansson

Admired CEO's to Watch


Nearly every aspect of our world has changed in the last two year. Suddenly, the unusual became mundane. Meanwhile, our friends, family, colleagues, and communities have had their lives altered in critical ways that promise to have far-reaching consequences. Living through a global pandemic has caused dramatic changes in our jobs, eating habits, childcare, and even our collective sense of time.

The impact in how we businesses interact with consumers and other businesses has been profound. COVID-19 has put organisational flexibility to the test over the last two years, disrupting the operations of almost every business worldwide. The majority of these coronavirus-induced changes have been associated with increased digitization. In fact, more than half of businesses are now investing in technology to gain a competitive advantage or refocusing their entire operation on digital technologies. During the pandemic, consumers shifted rapidly to online channels, and businesses and industries adapted. According to research, COVID-19 has caused businesses to accelerate the digitization of their supply chain, customer interactions, and internal operations by three to four years. According to reports, the proportion of products and services in corporate portfolios that can be accessed or purchased online has increased by an incredible seven years.

During the lockdown, one-fifth of micro-businesses established an online presence for the first time, and more than half of those who already had a website enhanced it with additional content, social media posting, or the addition of an online store.

There has never been a better time to incorporate digital technology in an organisation’s business model. As entrepreneurs incorporate and form LLCs, they will be coming up with unique names, phrases, symbols, logos, and designs for their startups. They will need protections, also known as trademarks, for their businesses. Registering trademarks helps set up a business for success.

Why is trademark registration required? What is it about trademarks that makes them so valuable to businesses? And where does the future of our work and how it interacts with our personal lives lead us? We spoke with Viktor Johansson, CEO of Digip, the world’s fastest trademark engine, to better understand all of this, why digital transformation is critical for businesses who wish to succeed and much more.

Aspioneer (A): Viktor, thank you for joining us today. Businesses, particularly those that are just getting started, can be perplexed by trademarks. Please provide us with a primer on what they mean and why they are so important?

Viktor (V): It’s so great to be here. Let’s dive in shall we? Trademarks are a symbol of your company’s identity. The unique names, phrases, symbols, logos, and designs you create for your company aid in the identification of your products and services. Consumers will be able to tell your products apart from those of competitors thanks to memorable trademarks.

Say you have a great business idea. You’re making money and having fun with it. You come up with an excellent name, logo, product design, and a website. But suddenly you are charged with trademark infringement and your business operations are halted suddenly.

It is for this very reason that trademarks are so important. Customers can spot and recognise your brand in a crowded marketplace if your trademark is visible. Consider the iconic golden arches logo from McDonald’s. Even from a distance, you can tell you’re not far from delicious cheeseburgers and french fries.

Recognizable trademarks also aid in the development of a brand’s reputation. An effective trademark can influence consumer purchasing decisions and conjure up positive, powerful messages about your brand. In the case of the golden arches, it is associated with a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s menu is available to customers worldwide. It is so visible that the company advertises “over 99 billion served” in its messaging to this day.

"Since trademark filing and infringement monitoring can be such a cumbersome process we attempted to solve the problem digitally."

A: What rights does a company have if they register their trademarks? And how does one go about getting a trademark registered? 

V: Until a trademark is registered, a competing company may claim it for their own use. An unregistered trademark causes two problems. As a business owner, you run the risk of having another company infringe on your original mark. There is no way to claim ownership of the mark because it has not been registered.

Furthermore, it is entirely possible that the trademark you designed is already in use. Your unique mark may already be registered or pending registration by another company. You may be unknowingly plagiarising their work!

The best way to avoid both of these issues is to register your trademark as soon as possible. However, before filing a trademark application, you must ensure that your mark is distinct. You can quickly accomplish this by conducting a name search.

What exactly is a name lookup? You can use a name search to look up existing and pending trademark applications. The USPTO’s TESS database is a good place to start. A thorough search ensures that your trademark is unique and available for registration and use. If the mark is not available, you must come up with alternative trademarks and conduct a name search to see if they are unique.

If a unique name is available you may start the trademark registration process. After conducting a name search, you can file a trademark application to protect your trademark. Remember to include the filing fee with your application.

After submitting your application, you may want to consider using a trademark watch service. This service, provided by a third-party filing company, aids in the monitoring of the trademark for potential infringement. It also monitors your existing application, letting you know first when your trademark has been approved—and that you have exclusive rights to the mark as its owner.

If you want to register your trademarks in multiple countries, you must repeat the process for each type of trademark. The process can be lengthy and difficult due to the various laws and processes in each jurisdiction, but it is certainly doable.

A: Wow! That seems like a lot, Viktor, especially for a young company. Is that the reason why Digip was created? How does your service work? 

V: Yeah, that is precisely why we created Digip. We were once a young company. And we faced the same difficulties that any aspiring entrepreneur might face when attempting to break into the world of global business. We understand what it’s like to be a young company with no access or resources to protect and own your identity.

We believe that what people create is significant. Why shouldn’t individuals have the same opportunities to protect and own their intellectual property as the world’s leading brands with whom we’ve collaborated?

It is unfair that hard working entrepreneurs who risk everything do not have equal access to intellectual property ownership. They can lose control of what they create if they do not have ownership. That means the creative process is over. It is unconscionable that a budding entrepreneur’s spirit should be crushed simply because they did not have their Ps and Qs in order.

Since trademark filing and infringement monitoring can be such a cumbersome process we attempted to solve the problem digitally. A one-stop trademark and monitoring system that operates in over 190 countries.

  • First, our system intelligently makes recommendations to make the trademark approval process as quick and painless as possible. Many quick legal decisions are made during the process of registering a trademark; we only involve attorneys when it is truly necessary, speeding up the process and saving money. Every step of the way, our trademark experts and attorneys monitor user applications until they’re approved.

  • Second, our digital system provides a solution to the perplexing world of trademark monitoring. Every day, thousands of trademark applications are filed. Entrepreneurs do not have the time or patience to investigate whether their trademarks have been infringed upon. We take up that responsibility for our users. We monitor both new trademark filings once they are published for infringement and authorised use. Once we find an infringement, we take the appropriate action immediately.

  • Third, we assist our users in expanding the scope of their trademark protection beyond their home country. Say you use our platform to register for a trademark in the EU. Since our platform and our experts have all the necessary information at our disposal, we can easily scale trademark protection to other countries outside the EU. Digip platform will manage and guarantee the renewal of the trademark as well.

  • Finally, all of this information is accessible to users via an interactive and user-friendly interface on our platform. Those who have visited the dashboards of government websites are aware of how unfriendly they are.

Our goal with Digip is to make the entire process as simple as possible, allowing our users to focus on what they do best: being fantastic entrepreneurs…(smiles..)

Securing Identities with Viktor Johansson
Viktor Johansson

A: In a world affected by COVID-19, we’ve all changed our behaviour. What effect did it have on Digip? What lessons can business leaders glean from this crisis? 

V: If we have learned anything in the last two years is that there are different ways of working, different ways of living and different ways to take appreciation for things. Despite the fact that some of the operations at Digip are remote in nature, we thought, ‘How do we continue to provide excellent service while maintaining our employees’ trust?’

And I think that is the most important thing for any business. An open and honest conversation across the organisation, allowing truth to speak to power about the leadership response to the challenge. Think of it as a new strategic initiative facing huge execution challenges. These require senior management to get the best information they can about barriers to execution, and it requires trust and commitment. That comes about when everyone in the organisation knows that senior management wants to hear from lower levels about barriers to execution that might include their own leadership.

I think it presents businesses with a huge opportunity to develop a trust based culture.

Remote work is also the new normal. Working remotely has numerous advantages. When you work from home, you no longer have to commute. For some people, this can amount to a couple extra hours per day to spend on more interesting or productive activities. You save money on gas and help the environment. There is less pressure to dress up. Work-life balance can be improved. This is an opportunity to scrap the idea that big cities are the only places where meaningful work can happen because we know firsthand that isn’t true.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Many business leaders still believe that “going remote” means sending a worker away from the office with a laptop and a to-do list. I wish it was that simple. In fact, when the proper policies and procedures to support off-site employees are not in place, terrible consequences are likely. As businesses embrace remote work, thoughtful leaders must devise solutions to foster collaboration, reduce digital miscommunication, and simulate a workplace structure for employees. Isolation and mental anxiety must be actively addressed by encouraging employees to develop a personal regimen: exercise at home, meditate, and make an effort to reach out and talk to people, even if that socialisation takes place virtually, just to ensure that employees are happy, mentally relaxed, and productive to the greatest extent possible.

A: These days the world seems constantly on the verge of a meltdown. First was the pandemic, then were the harsh realities of climate change. Following that, there was a war and a cost-of-living crisis. What can we do?

V: To begin, I believe we would benefit greatly from taking a break and knowing a little less about what is going on every second outside our door. The internet and social media have been extremely effective in raising awareness and democratising the dissemination of information. But if we keep doomscrolling, reading social media or the news incessantly, jumping from one traumatic story to the next without giving ourselves time and space to care for our mental health, we will be in big trouble.

It’s critical to take a step back and consider what it means to “stay informed.” Is it that I’m looking for specific information about a news topic or that I’m trying to figure out what several people are angry about online and ruminating on those emotions? Is there a reliable news source or two I can turn to for updates instead of scrolling through social media?

Finally, if there is one thing we do, it is to practice kindness and compassion, which I believe is undervalued in this world. The ability to empathically connect with others—to feel with them, care about their well-being, and act compassionately—is critical to our lives, assisting us in getting along, working more effectively, and thriving as a society. In motivating people, empathy is critical. We need to understand the fears, hopes and concerns of the people around us.

Compassion can be hard to find these days. Many fail to understand how essential kindness is to our survival and happiness as human beings. For some, compassion isn’t valuable at all. It might even be scorned. It’s seen as a weakness and opportunity to be taken advantage of. In the words of the great Dalai Lama, “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Compassion improves individuals’ health and lives, fuels positive change in societies, and supports the most vulnerable.

A: Viktor, thank you very much. 

**Viktor Johansson is the Chief Executive Officer of Digip, a digital platform that specialises in trademark registration and protection, a lawyer & certified EUIPO trademark attorney

Admired CEO's to Watch, 2022