Every business has a brand; it is what sets your goods or services apart from your competitors. It is how your customers know they are buying your product from you and not an inferior one from a rival. It is what brings your customers back to you for more, again and again.
Every brand has a value. Over time, some have become so valuable it is almost impossible to calculate quite how much they may be worth; brands such as Apple, Google, Coca Cola.
Your brand may not have reached valuations these companies enjoy but it will certainly be a significant asset for your business and one you should give serious consideration to protecting, wherever it is the basis for your trade.
Your brand, if properly protected, can also provide security for a business loan, helping you raise the additional funding required to take your business to the next level. Thanks to the Dragons Den effect, most investors will now only consider investing in a business where Trade Mark protection is already in place. This underlines the value in securing the right protection for every business.
Every day we are subjected to hundreds of Trade Marks, breakfast cereals, newspapers, shops, we don’t order a pint of lager we ask for a pint of Foster’s, it isn’t a packet of mints it’s a packet of Polos. It is brand awareness which is all important.
Because of this, business owners spend much of their time and considerable sums of money building the value of their brand. Money spent developing a name or a logo which is then “marketed” to the public, building awareness of the goods, increasing the goodwill. It’s not just the buying public who become aware of you and your success; your competitors do as well. As awareness of your brand grows so do the risks associated with infringement.
Having put time and money into growing awareness of the brand the last thing you need is for another party to try to trade off the back of your efforts and your cash, causing confusion amongst the public and potentially damaging not only your sales and your business but also your hard-won reputation. One sale lost is one too many and if your brand is attacked in this way it won’t be just one sale that is lost.
Attempting to defend your brand without the security of Trade Mark protection is both difficult and expensive. A common law action of passing off requires evidence of reputation or goodwill, misrepresentation and damages, a high and often extremely costly evidentiary burden.
Worse still, if your rival has registered your Trade Mark for their business they now own the rights and very often the only way out is to go through a complete re-brand, with all the costs associated with that and whilst the value previously built up in your original brand is lost completely.
We often hear business owners say “I have my Company name registered, that’s all the protection I need”, sadly this is not the case. In a Trade mark dispute, having a company name registration is of little practical help. In reality, a company name registration serves only to prevent someone else registering the exact same name at Companies House and providing the taxman with a business name to use when sending out a tax bill. A domain name is similarly of limited value in a Trade Mark dispute.
The solution for all business owners, from the largest multi-national to the smallest start-up business, is to seek proper advice regarding the appropriate protection for their brand before there is a problem. Get your brand protected by filing Trade Mark applications in those countries where you trade already or where you think you may be interested in expanding in the coming few years. It is important to get your registration in before anyone else to give you exclusive rights to use your brand for your goods or services in the countries covered by your registrations.
If you register your Trade Mark it is much easier to take legal action against others attempting to use your mark without your permission as registration gives concrete proof of your legally protected rights.
Nucleus IP have been looking after clients’ Intellectual Property rights for almost 130 years. We focus on delivering value to our clients by understanding their issues and by looking at the wider context in which they operate. Understanding the challenges and opportunities our clients face enables us to create commercial and innovative solutions designed to protect their needs.
We protect Trade Marks in every country of the world where registration is possible. Guiding clients through the maze of legislation, making maximum use of the various conventions and international arrangements to reduce costs, taking into account their goods or services, their target markets and business needs, to ensure their brand receives the widest possible protection at a price they can afford.
Trade Mark protection for your brand and your business is not expensive. If you don’t already have this in place talk to Nucleus IP today…before it’s too late.