The importance of trade mark protection

Trade marks are an asset to a business and can help a business grow.

If your reputation for you or your goods and services is what makes the difference for you, then a trade mark is the best form of defence for your reputation. Don’t think that putting the letters ™ after your name is enough – they might well serve to stop someone from misusing your brand but the sign does not carry any legal weight in a courtroom fight.

Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty can take decades to establish, and the aggregate cost of advertising, promotion and marketing and sales can be high. Companies invest significantly in their brands and it becomes an integral element of their identity. Without legal protection (in the form of a registered trade mark), they have very limited ownership of that brand and will struggle to stop others from making money from their success.

Your trade mark differentiates your product or service from those of a competitor. In an increasingly busy marketplace, the value of this differentiation and the associated ‘good will’ that it generates is a valuable commodity. Customers immediately know that it is you who they are buying from and are less likely to look for an alternative.

Advantages of trade mark protection

Trade mark protection provides you with the legal right to stop others from using the brand which you have invested in developing. Moreover, it is a company asset that can grow in value significantly. Coca Cola® is probably the best known brand in the world and of its estimated value of $60 billion over 75% is associated with the brand alone. Little wonder that they take their trade marks very seriously.

An additional advantage of a registered trade mark is that you will also be able to defend yourself against ‘cybersquatters’. These are people who buy a domain name incorporating your company name/brand name and then try to sell it back to you for a large amount of money. By having a registered trade mark, you are easily able to defend yourself against anyone who uses a similar or identical domain to that of your trade mark in either the same line of trade or for fraudulent purposes.

What to consider before you trade mark

When creating a new brand, businesses and entrepreneurs should keep in mind the following points:

  • Misuse (infringement) of the IP of others can be damaging and costly.
  • IP rights are geographically territorial, you need to check that a right is available for use in all territories in which you want to do business.
  • Consider the IP issues before embarking on overseas selling or PR activity.
  • Ownership of rights can be used when looking at the commercial value of a company.
  • Protecting IP enables companies to safely access new markets through licensing, franchising, entering joint ventures or other contractual arrangements (including overseas manufacturing, marketing and distribution) with other companies.
  • Your trade mark could be one of your business’ most enduring assets. They can provide you with long-term competitive advantage and appreciate over time. A trade mark can be used to leverage additional commercial backing, driving potential growth and product diversification.

Registering a trade mark is a simple, effective and cost efficient way of not only protecting your business, but also of putting in place the potential building blocks that will help your business grow and succeed.

Read more about trademarks in our insights section below, or contact us today to find how we can work together to ensure the protection and growth of your IP.

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I have worked with the trade mark team at Mathys & Squire since I became Head of Legal at UKFast. The team are pragmatic and knowledgeable, and partner, Gary Johnston is absolutely excellent. The team always show great understanding of our organisation and our commercial aims, and we work closely with them to protect our trade marks and brand. 

Nicola Frost – UKFast 

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