Business owners striving to maximise protection of their brand and intellectual property can look to top tips from commercial law experts.
It’s crucial for every business to preserve its brand and intellectual property, whilst equally avoiding infringement of third-party trademarks. Commercial lawyer at JMP Solicitors, Robert Cox, offers advice for business owners on how to establish and protect their brand.
Robert said: “We often receive enquiries where clients have introduced a new brand only to receive a letter alleging that the brand infringes a third party’s trademark. This can be quite distressing and expensive as the client might have spent a lot of money on advertising and marketing literature, web domains and a new company name.”
“We’ve outlined a few simple things you can do to reduce the risk of this happening.”
1. Carry out a trademark search
A simple trademark search when deciding on a new brand can highlight any third-party trademarks that might pose a freedom to use risk. This can be done by visiting the Intellectual Property Office website.
2. Register in every country
It is important to register the new brand name as a trademark in each country where your business is active. Only by registering a trademark can you a) prove the exclusive right to use your brand name in a specific class of goods and services; and b) protect against infringing a later filed trademark registration.
3. Protect all aspects of your brand
It’s not just your name – logos can also be protected by trademark and this is advisable under certain circumstances. Logos are also protected by copyright, but it is important to ensure that you own the intellectual property in the logo, which you may not if it was created by a third party without adequate wording in the associated contract.
4. Seek legal advice
The client will have no choice but to rebrand which can be expensive, but most importantly all goodwill that has been built up under the original brand would be lost. Even if the client fights against an allegation of trademark infringement and wins they may still be left with a sizeable legal bill. To avoid hefty fines, obtain legal advice before setting up a brand to be sure you are following the rules.