Branding is difficult to define. When someone talks about branding is it your product, your idea, or the trade mark used to distinguish your business’ goods and services? No matter which angle you slice it, branding is multi-faceted, and you should take steps to ensure that you protect your business. Although you cannot eliminate your competition or copycats, you do have to manage these in a sensible way that protects your company’s Intellectual Property. Doing so helps separate you from competitors, increases brand awareness and creates a unified identity and sense of belonging for your employees, clients, and third parties. So what steps can you take to protect your brand? We set out seven below so as to equip you with the information needed to grow your business.

1. Trade Mark

Although it’s easy to overlook registering your trade mark, it’s critical to ensure that your company has exclusive rights to use your trade mark name for the goods and services you offer. Once IP Australia registers your trade mark, you are now in a position to enforce your rights and stop others, including any competition or copycats, from using or infringing your images or tag lines.

2. Police Your IP

Many individuals think that after they have secured their trade mark and registered with IP Australia, that is it. It’s important, however, to monitor and police your trade mark. You should set up a Google alert for your trade mark to avoid spending days scouring the internet. Once you have identified potential infringing conduct, you may decide to speak with an intellectual property lawyer to help draft a cease and desist letter. 

3. Survey Your Competition

It’s healthy to have competition and can keep your business on its feet.  Being aware and paying attention to a competitor’s strategy and marketing can take your brand to the next level.

4. Leverage Complementary AdWords to Your Advantage

Now that you own the proprietary rights to your trade mark, it is up to you how you commercially leverage its use. Invest in a Google AdWords and content strategy to build up your brand’s persona. 

5. Think Global

It is important not to limit yourself to the country in which you establish your brand. Think about where you are going to expand your brand to in the future and secure the trade mark rights in these destinations. Before your business becomes the next big thing, it is important to ensure you can become the next big thing in Australia, the United States, Europe and beyond. It is also sensible to protect your brand in China. It’s important to ensure that you are first to file and lock in priority dates associated with your IP as China’s IP law develops and becomes more sophisticated.

6. Manage Employees

Have you recently reviewed your employees’ employment agreements? Take care and confirm that you include specific clauses to address employee disclosure of trade secrets and use of company property. 

7. Monitor and Protect Your Web Content

Copyright automatically protects the web content displayed on your website. It’s important to monitor your competitors, and if you see someone else using your images, content, or ripping off your design, you should speak with a lawyer to send a take-down notice. 

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Protecting your brand is important as you grow your business’ following. If you have any questions about what steps you can take to trade mark you logo or protect your intellectual property, get in touch on 1300 544 755.

Sophie Glover

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