Brand Compliance & Trade Marking.
A trademark is a way of identifying a unique product or service. A trademark is not just ‘a logo’. It can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or a combination of these.
Like any valuable business asset, your brand should be protected. Brand Compliance & Trade Marking is an essential element when making your mark in your market. Failure to protect your brand may reduce its value and damage your brand’s reputation.
Trademarks are an effective communication tool. In a single brand or logo, trademarks can convey intellectual and emotional attributes and messages about you, your company, and your company’s reputation, products and services. Your trademark doesn’t need to be a word. A good trademark can be recognised regardless of language or alphabet. The Nike “Swoosh” design is recognised globally, irrespective of whether the native language is Chinese, Spanish, Swahili, Russian, Arabic or English.
The marketplace is crowded, and it’s hard to distinguish your business from your competitors. Trademarks/brands are an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out.
Suppose a competitor started using your brand, or worse, ripped it off with a copycat to advertise their services. In that case, they may be attracting customers that would otherwise have come to you, or worse, be delivering sub-standard products or services under your name.
Where do I start with Brand Compliance & Trade Marking?
While there is some protection through the law of another company ‘passing off‘ as your brand through consumer law, trademark registration is the most effective form of brand protection.
Trademarking your brand is a sign to distinguish one person’s goods or services from others. Registering a trademark provides you with a legally enforceable right to stop other traders from using your brand to advertise similar goods or services without authorisation.
If someone is using a registered trademark without permission of the trademark owner to sell similar goods or services, this is known as trademark infringement. In most cases where this occurs, a simple cease and desist letter is sufficient to stop the violation from continuing. Where this is unsuccessful, the trademark can be enforced through other methods.
A registered trademark can be seen as a way of minimising future enforcement costs. It also notifies others that you’re serious about protecting your brand and increases the value of your business.
Even though you may have a registered trademark, it’s also essential to be attentive to the activities of your competitors. If you suspect or witness your brand being infringed, it is best to take action as soon as possible. The longer the infringing activity goes on, the harder it will be to stop.
Trademark? Registered trademark symbol? Or something else?
So? Brand Compliance & Trade Marking? Should your brand be listed as a Trademark™, Registered®, or Copyrighted©?
A trademark is a symbol, word, or series of words established as representative of a company, brand, or product. The term “trademark” indicates that the organisation that owns the Trademark has applied to register it with the appropriate agency. The ™ symbol should be used for any intellectual property that fits one of two categories:
It has not yet been registered, or The registration has been filed but is not yet official. In Australia, you can find out more here.
The ™ lets people know that you claim the rights and use of the trademarked symbol or words for yourself. It is not proof of ownership. For that, you must prove that you were the first to use the Trademark and that use of it by anybody else would materially harm you.
Once your application for a Trademark has officially been approved, you may use the Registered® symbol. The ® character is proof that you have registered your Trademark. It makes it possible for you to use your Trademark freely without fear of it being easily co-opted by someone else and seek damages against anyone who uses your Trademark without permission. It also helps prevent imitators from bothering you with copycat products.
In other words, being able to list your symbol or words as Registered® establishes you as the owner of a Trademark and protects you against being harmed if somebody else uses your trademark without permission.
What are the benefits of Brand Compliance & Trade Marking?
Your marketplace is crowded, and it’s hard to distinguish your business from your competitors. Trademarking your brand or brands is an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out.
Customers viewing a trademark immediately know who they are dealing with the reputation of your business and are less likely to look for alternatives. Your brand could be the critical factor in driving a customer’s purchase decision.
Trademarks provide value beyond your core business. Trademarks can lead to expansion from one industry to another, such as from personal care to clothing or eye ware. If you desire it, your trademark can lead to your business acquisition by a giant corporation.