The majority of us when looking for a service or a product will at some point have asked for a recommendation from someone we know – whether it be a family member, a friend or a work colleague. We all get business through word of mouth.
The reputation of your business can set you apart from the competition and help to convey your own unique selling points, For most businesses’ their reputation will be embedded within a select few brand names and logos – the company name, trading name, or the name of a key product or service line.
These brand names can be the most valuable assets of a business. For example, imagine how you would feel if one of your competitors launched a product with a similar, or even the same brand name as one of your products. How would you feel if you were to lose control of your brand in this way? Doubtless you would be worried about the potential impact this would have on your business.
Despite the risks, many businesses do not take steps to protect their reputation, brand names, and logos by registering trade marks.
A registered trade mark is a powerful right, enabling the owner to stop others from using an identical or similar mark in respect of relevant goods and/or services. As such, all businesses are advised to get a registered trade mark wherever possible.
A common misconception is that a business will be covered if they have registered their trading name at Companies House or if they have registered their brands as domain names. Unfortunately, this is not the case and the consequences for a business not fully protecting their intellectual property could be significant.
The law in the UK has evolved so that trade mark registrations, domain name registrations and Company Name registrations all sit in parallel with each other. Simply registering a domain name or company name does not mean you are free to use that name in trade. Out of these three registrations, it is only the trade mark registration which creates a monopoly in the brand.
Registration gives piece of mind and is cost effective insurance against losing control of your brand and reputation.
This blog was written by Ben Travers, Head of Intellectual Property at Stephens Scown solicitors in Cornwall.
Stephens Scown is currently offering a free IP MOT to business owners in Cornwall. The MOT will look at key IP issues impacting on your business and will give you the information you need to make decisions about how to tighten up any gaps.
If you would like any information on trade mark registration or, if you would like to sign up for a free IP MOT, please contact Ben Travers, Head of IP & IT on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01392 210700.