Trademarks: the when, why, and how guide
You may have read countless articles on trade marks but getting to grips with whether or not it is necessary for your business can be difficult to navigate. Here are the facts you need to decide whether now is the time to protect your brand.
- Why trademark?
It’s always more clear to explain with an example. Imagine there are two companies based in the UK selling burgers; one called “Hot Shot Burgers” and the other “Burger Hot Shots”. Hot Shot Burgers takes time to align their IP strategy before expanding and invests in a trademark. Burger Hot Shots tries to hit the ground running, aiming to get their burgers in stores nationwide as quickly as possible.
Trouble looms. Being proactive is an admirable quality that is invaluable to achieving great things. But the newly registered trademark owners at Hot Shot Burgers lay down the law and their rivals must cease trading under their current name. All that good work is undone as an expensive rebrand is imposed, destroying any brand awareness.
This is not an uncommon scenario (it usually happens with slightly more imaginative business names) as similar brands appear regularly in competitive markets.
- When should you trademark?
The right answer depends on your circumstances and strategic business plan, but clichés abound in the usual answers (lawyers like to flitter between “the early bird catches the worm” and “the sooner the better”). Solidifying your brand image earlier allows for a protected brand in the future.
If you invest time, expertise and money into creating a brand your customers value but choose not to register a trademark early on then you are building your success upon a foundation of sand.
Settling on exactly how your customers recognise your products allows you to protect it.
A registered trademark can be a company name, a product, or an eye catching logo.
If you are interested in learning more or getting the process started, you can contact Trademark Brothers. Our Service includes guidance through the entire trademarking process.
Is it time to tick intellectual property off your to-do list?