Is Your Brand Protected?

If your brand name or logo is important to you, consider trademark protection

When starting up a new business there are so many things to think about, from deciding your legal entity to who provides the office stationary. The mammoth task of decision making required at this stage can be overwhelming and vital considerations can often slip under the radar.

Often overlooked at this stage is Intellectual Property (IP), with many businesses not considering what IP they may have and therefore failing to put appropriate protection in place. Your IP has the potential to become one of your most valuable assets.

Protecting your brand requires owners to be forward thinking and proactive, however in my experience, clients often come to us looking for a reaction when a third party tries to register a brand name either identical or similar to their own.

Trademarks are one particular element of intellectual property that will be applicable to all businesses.

The fact is, if you have chosen a great name or designed a unique logo for your business, then someone else may think that it is great too. Failing to register your name or logo as a trademark will mean that someone else could do it first, thus undoing the hard work, goodwill and reputation associated with your brand.

What is a trademark?

It is something that identifies your brand and allows customers to find and distinguish you from your competitors. A trademark could be a word, phrase, image, design or a combination of all these elements.

Why should you register your trademark?

Identify your brand. Registering your trademark will mean that no one else can use your mark. It will also ensure your customers are able to distinguish you from your competitors.

Increase the value of your business. With so many fiercely competitive industries and access to so many other businesses online, it is vital that your business stands out from the crowd and is easily recognisable. Should you ever consider selling your company, a registered trademark may add significant value. Alternatively, you may be able to licence your trademark providing a source of revenue.

Add legitimacy to your business and your product. If you have a registered trademark, you are able to use the ® symbol. This instantly adds legitimacy to your business and recognises the faith that you put in your products or services.

Enhanced protection. Once your trademark is registered in the UK, provided you continue to use the mark, it is yours for a minimum of 10 years (with the option to renew). This means no one can use this mark during this time, and if they do, you have a legal grounding to sue for any infringement. It is much more difficult to enforce rights for unregistered marks.

Avoid expensive re-branding. If you build up a good reputation for your business, and someone else then registers your mark, it can be both time consuming and costly to rebuild your brand.

The above only briefly touches on some of the many benefits a trademark registration can offer in a global economy. A trademark registration can be an invaluable tool and something that is worth having before a conflict arises.

So, ask yourself, have you worked hard to create your brand? What would you do if someone else used your mark, or even something similar? Would this cause detriment to your business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider registering your trademark.

For further information or advice on registering your trademark, please contact Abbie Anthony