Five Reasons to Protect Your Brand
Five Reasons to Protect Your Brand
May 6, 2016
The only sure way to protect your brand is to register it as a trade mark. Registration of it as a company, business or domain name WILL NOT protect your brand against use by others and will not prevent you from being sued for use of your brand. Below are five compelling reasons you should protect your brand by registering it as a trade mark.
1. YOUR BRAND IS UNIQUE
Almost everything else in a business is replaceable. Suppliers, employees, customers, plant, even proprietary technology, will all change over time, as will your business. The thing that is unique, and which if protected, will not change unless you re-brand, is the name and brand of your business. Nor do you want it to change. Changing the brand of your business causes loss of recognition in the marketplace leading to loss of sales.
Your brand over time will come to incorporate the values of your business and the quality of your products. An example would be BMW or Mercedes or Audi. All are recognised as brands of quality cars.
If you do not protect your brand from misuse by registering it as a trade mark, you may find yourself with an uphill struggle in court, trying to reclaim what you believed to be yours.
2. RIGHT TO USE
Once you register your brand as a trade mark, you cannot be sued by the holder of another registered trade mark so long as you confine your use of your trade mark to the goods and/or services for which it is registered.
3. RIGHT TO EXCLUDE
The primary function of a trade mark registration is to allow the owner of that trade mark to prevent others from using the same or similar trade mark on or in relation to the same or similar goods/services to those for which the trade mark is registered. That is, if a competitor uses a similar trade mark to the one you have registered for the same or similar products, you will have a right to sue for an injunction (a court order preventing further use by the competitor of your brand or a similar brand) and financial compensation.
As the owner of a registered trade mark for your brand, you have legal ownership of that brand and it is deemed to be an item of personal property, with all of the benefits that come with items recognised as personal property under the law. In particular, as an item of property, you can now sell the brand to a third party, by transferring ownership of it to the buyer. You can licence or permit others to use it, such as in a franchised business and earn royalties for use by third parties. If the brand is particularly valuable, you can also use it as security against finance.
We have saved the best until last.
If you do not protect your brand as a registered trade mark, you run the risk that somebody else will. This may put them in a position where they can prevent your continued use of your brand, or make it uneconomic for you to continue using your brand – due to the high cost of defending a court action for trade mark infringement.
The consequences of not being able to use your brand are significant.
You would incur costs dealing with the allegations of trade mark infringement, and settling the matter, which may include paying your legal costs, the other side’s legal costs and perhaps some level of financial compensation to the other side.
You will then have to de-brand your business. De-branding your business may include removing the brand from your domain name, website, social media sites, business stationery, product packaging, vehicle signage, premises signage and marketing materials. Any TV or radio ads would be rendered unusable. The list goes on.
As if the cost of extracting yourself from the legal dispute and de-branding was not enough, now you have to come up with, develop and build a new brand which will involve re-branding all the items you have just de-branded – domain name, website, social media sites, business stationery, product packaging, vehicle signage, premises signage and marketing materials, TV and radio ads, to name a few.
As if this was not enough, there will be some level of loss of sales as customers are confused and concerned by your re-brand.
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"Marshall IP Group has been assisting SAI Global with its trade mark, IT and other intellectual property agreements for over 4 years now. They have demonstrated a good understanding of our businesses and services and this commercial understanding is applied to the legal advice and assistance they have provided. They have shown expertise beyond their size and (regional) location and an ability to stand their ground against their City counterparts: you get the quality of a city law firm partner but you are not charged the big city law firm rates. They are pro-active, commercially sensible and this has given me, as a busy in-house Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary, peace of mind in relation to SAI Global’s national and international IP Portfolio and other legal needs. "Read More >
"Marshall Marks has recently filed a large number of trade mark applications for us and has a high level of success in terms of getting marks registered with the minimum of fuss and additional costs. They have well established processes that identify problems early on so that time and money is not wasted on problematic applications and deliver their services promptly in a courteous and professional manner. They have demonstrated a strong ability to handle a large and growing IP Portfolio in the very competitive drinks sector of the market. I would recommend them to any company that wants to get a grip on its IP."Read More >
"Marshall IP Group has been a supporter of the iAccelerate from its very beginnings. iAccelerate is a state of the art incubator for start-ups and early stage technology businesses located at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. Marshall IP Group’s CEO, Tim Marshall, has provided thorough, thoughtful and insightful contributions to iAccelerate providing informative seminars, workshops and advice for many of iAccelerate’s companies. Marshall IP Group demonstrates a commitment to the innovation agenda for Australia and the Illawarra region. "Read More >
"I am delighted to recommend Tim Marshall and the team at Marshall IP Group for all aspects of intellectual property and technology law. Marshall IP Group fills an important space in the legal market in regional Australia and Australian capital cities. The businesses that I am heavily involved in, RMB Lawyers and Unison Outsourcing, have both enjoyed excellent advice and customer service from Marshall IP Group in relation to trade marking our businesses and protecting our brand."Read More >
"Entering the world of trademarks and IP, as a means of protecting our brand both now and in the future, was met with an unclear understanding of where we could turn for assistance. Tim and his amazing team at Marshall IP Group have made the whole process a hassle free one and we confidently recommend their services to anyone wanting to add value to their brand and business. "Read More >
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