If you have ambitious plans for your business, you will have done extensive market research to ensure you have a brilliant (and scaleable) business concept. Also, you’ll have networked, researched and invested many hours of your time and energy into getting your business ready for the market.
You understand that despite how brilliant your business idea may be, to make any money from it, you need to attract customers through marketing. It’s crucial that you have a name that captures what your business stands for – quality, excellence, innovation, for example. Once you have the perfect name, it’s important to trademark, and there are persuasive commercial reasons to do so.
Exclusivity and uniqueness
Trademarking secures your intellectual property in a name. Trademarking gives you exclusive rights to use that name to market your business and allows you to take action against anyone that may infringe on those rights. This exclusivity can’t be gained from registering a domain name or business name. Any name you adopt should be legally available, and you need to satisfy any legal requirements for trademark registration.
Avoiding infringement claims
When you successfully register a trademark, this means that any barriers to registration have been overcome. Obstacles to registering include an already existing trademark that is identical or similar to your own. If you successfully register, this significantly reduces the chance of receiving an infringement claim by reducing the risk that you infringe on another person’s trademark. Pre-registration searches show that your name is available and that it would not infringe on another’s rights.
A symbol of reputation and goodwill
Creating a memorable brand or one that ‘sticks’ in the mind is one of the most important factors in business success. If you’ve got a great business and outstanding customer service, and you link this to a memorable name, you’re on the right track to doing very, very well. Businesses that don’t do this are missing out on an important commercial opportunity. You need a name that is strong, memorable and, importantly, unique to you and your business. Protecting your name and the reputation it engenders through trademark registration is a must.
Conquer copy cats
Copying is the highest form of flattery, right? Not in the cut-throat business world! If you’re a successful business, others will try their hardest to emulate yours in the chance of sharing some of your success. This is one of the most difficult things to overcome in business, and you need a coordinated strategy to deal with copycats. A crucial ingredient is trademarking your quintessential name so that it stays yours, and the quality it signifies remains undiluted.
Planning for expansion
There’s no harm in having big ambitions for your business. In fact, setting clear goals for growth can motivate you and help you see the bigger picture when things don’t go exactly to plan. Business expansion can include plans to franchise, licence or have agents. Each of these structures mean that other entities become representatives of your business – they need to embody the same values as you do and be the right fit for your business. Your business’ values need to manifest in a shared symbol – your brand name or logo. Your brand is an asset, and with any asset, it needs to be secured. If you want to franchise or license your business, you need to trademark your unique name so that your agents can use it legitimately.
Protecting that genius idea
You have an amazing new idea that you haven’t found anywhere. You can’t find anyone who is doing business the way you intend to – your ‘light bulb’ moment is genius. Unfortunately, it is often the case that a great business idea can’t be protected legally, for example by patenting. Patenting usually applies to new product innovations, rather than intangible business concepts, which means you have to be inventive about how you go about protecting your idea. You have to be the first mover – you have to get your idea into the market quickly and brand the idea with a strong, individual name protected by trademark registration. Your ‘idea’ is not what is protected through trademark registration. That said, if your idea is intrinsically and inseparably bound up with your strong, unique brand name – then people will think of your business and not others.
If you think of any successful business, those businesses are successful because they have perfected quality customer service and have brought innovative goods or services to the market at some stage. Each of those businesses teams shows excellence in their particular fields, with a razor sharp marketing strategy that links their brand to quality, excellence or other attributes that embody the brand. Trademarking your unique name is crucial to your business success, and it’s something you should think about sooner rather than later. Trademarking will ensure your brand is exclusive, it will avoid infringement claims, protect your business idea, defeat copy cats and will help you plan for expansion.
If you need assistance in registering a trademark, get in touch with LegalVison’s IP team today.