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A trademark is anything that identifies the origin of a good or service. This includes product name, packaging and logo and can even include sounds. Famous examples of trademarks include the Heinz brand name and Kit Kat’s “Have a Break” slogan. Have a Kit Kat’. As a business owner, you will likely have registered your business, chosen a business name, perhaps established a budget, and obtained insurance; but, why should you register your trademark? Here are some tips that help highlight the value of brand protection if you’re on the fence:
Tip 1: Think of a trademark as a legally enforceable right
If a third party uses your trademark or something similar to your trademark, consumers may think that the origin of the third party’s goods or services is your business. As such, third parties could benefit or harm the reputation of your business. A trademark registration helps you secure the right to use your trademark in connection with your products and, most importantly, to prevent others from using your trademark. Coca-Cola and Apple are examples of companies that have used their registrations to counter third-party infringement and, therefore, preserved their brand and reputation.
Tip 2: Consider trademark registration a step up from protecting an unregistered trademark
You may have heard that in many countries, including the UK, trademarks can be protected without registration through use and common law. However, not all countries offer this protection. For example, in many parts of continental Europe, common law does not exist. Trademark rights are mainly protected by registration and the first filer obtains the rights. Therefore, if you were selling internationally, registration would be your only form of trademark protection. Moreover, even when this protection is ensured, it is not always obvious to prove the ownership of common law rights. For example, the makers of Jif Lemon Juice had to provide a lot of evidence to a judge in order to prove ownership of their packaging even in the UK.
Tip 3: Think of trademark registration as an insurance policy
Although registering a trademark costs money, registration acts similarly to an insurance policy, as the money spent limits the risk. If you ever needed to prove ownership of your trademark, for example, providing a registration certificate would be straightforward. However, failure to register a trademark means proving ownership would be complicated. This can easily lead to messy and expensive court cases.
Tip Four: Consider Trademark Registration as a Guarantee of Trademark Ownership
Failure to register may also result in the loss of a trademark. Various traders had to change their name or brand because they did not register their name or brand early. However, the registration process involves the provision of an examination report, which would bring conflicting marks to your attention.
Tip Five: Think of Trademark Registration as Protection for Your Company’s Assets
As above, registering a trademark limits the risk that you need to change, for example, your trademark name or logo. As such, a trademark can help protect all the time, money, knowledge, and other resources you have spent on marketing and advertising. Indeed, changing the name or logo of a company would only mean that it would again have to tap into these resources.
Tip Six: Consider Trademark Registration as a Way to Strengthen Your Brand
Trademarks also increase the value of the brand as a whole because they allow consumers to identify your brand. A good example is Chanel, which has one of the most recognizable logos that sets the brand apart from its competitors. A trademark registration can create an “exclusion zone” around your trademark.
Seventh tip: think of a brand separately from a domain name
It’s easy to think that registering your domain name first means you own that domain. However, a domain name registration as such does not give you any intellectual property rights in the domain. Therefore, in order to truly secure your domain, it is important to register its wording as a trademark, where you can.
Tip Eight: Think of a brand separately from a company name
It’s also easy to think that registering your business name at Companies House means you own that name and will continue to do so without issue. However, registering a company name does not give you any rights over that name again from the point of view of intellectual property law. In the UK, trademark rights are established through the trading (use) of a trademark or company name and its registration as a trademark.
Tip 9: Consider trademark registration as part of your business strategy
A brand is essentially part of your business strategy. For example, if you ever plan to expand your business outside of the UK, you may also want to consider registering a trademark in the countries where you want to expand. This would allow you to reserve the use of your mark in these countries.
Tip 10: Think of a brand as a business asset
It has been reported that the trademark of Google has accumulated a value of 44 billion dollars. This would be the selling price of the brand if the business were ever sold. However, you don’t have to wait to sell your business to take advantage of your brand. A trademark registration may be licensed to third parties. A trademark registration is a property right like any other asset of your business.
Originally posted by pro-manchester
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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