Posted on by bisonrivers

With many new businesses emerging as people start to go it alone in an attempt to ride out the poor economy and jobs market, just how do new businesses protect themselves and make sure that the investment in their brand is secure?

At the outset choosing distinctive names and logos should be high on the priority list – be creative and come up with something that is unique and fanciful. If you need to inform your customer of the goods or services you are offering, then use a descriptive strap line, but have a really clever trademark too. In the long run a unique name and logo will be cost effective to maintain and will indicate the origin and quality of your products to your customers.

 There are a few essential steps that should be taken before committing to a brand.

  • Before you adopt a name or logo, conduct some basic internet research to see whether someone else is using anything similar. If they are, what are they using the trademark for and is there room for your business? Trademarks can co-exist in some circumstances.
  • Check out domain name rights to see whether any of the TLD’s are still available; if not who owns them and what is their business sector?
  • Check out whether the company name is available. Companies House accepts similar company names without consideration of trademark rights and securing a company name does not mean you own the name or give you brand protection! 
  • Have trademark searches conducted in the countries in which you will trade so that you can see whether someone already owns a competing brand. Using someone else’s trademark can result in you being sued for an account of turnover or profit and if they succeed you’ll be liable for costs.
  • File applications early on to register your brand as your trademark. Many countries operate a first to file trademark system and you can lose your rights by failing to take positive action.
  • Take expert advice, Trademark Law is very complicated.

 Undertaking sufficient research to find out whether a trademark is free for use and registration is a must for all new businesses and those creating new products. Securing registration grants a monopoly in a trademark, which can then be used to efficiently and cost effectively prevent damage to the brand from unauthorised third party use.

A brand is a company’s most valuable asset, which can be licensed, bought or sold and investing in its protection should be an integral part of any business strategy.

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