Are you looking to start your own locksmith business or expand your already existing locksmith business? If so, it is important you take care to ensure that your intellectual property is protected. Many business owners view protecting their intellectual property as an added distraction that need not be dealt with immediately; unfortunately this is simply not the case. Every day that goes by where your intellectual property is not protected at law is a day that you risk having everything you have worked so hard to build, taken from your grasp. Although this may seem slightly dramatic, it is the simple truth.
Why should I protect my intellectual property/trademarks?
The most valuable intellectual property that your locksmith business possesses is your trademarks. A trademark is any sign, word, phrase, diagram, image, colour or smell you use to identify your product to your customers. When a customer defines a trademark as being yours, it means that the reputation of your business is inherent within it, and they can trust the product because it is yours. If you do not protect your trademarks, then someone may well take them from you by registering it first and thereby preventing you from using it.
There is significant competition in today’s locksmith business, and sadly this will force some business owners to do desperate things in order to stay afloat. Instead of working harder or improving their service or product, some business owners will take shortcuts to gain an advantage over their competition. One way in which they do this is by taking advantage of unprotected intellectual property.
Therefore, if another business owner uses your trademark, customers will identify their product as being yours. The first thing this will affect is your bottom line, as customers will frequent this other business under the assumption the profits will go to you. Secondly, there is a good chance that this unscrupulous business owner will sell an inferior product, thereby damaging the reputation of your business, as customers will think you are to blame. Consequently, it is quite clear that unprotected intellectual property can be catastrophic for your locksmith business.
How do I protect my trademarks?
As we have seen, there are various types of intellectual property that fall under this umbrella term. As the owner of a locksmith business, it is unlikely that you will have the need to familiarise yourself with each of these categories in detail. To begin with, the most important aspect of intellectual property that needs to be protected is your trademark.
To protect a trademark, a business owner must register their trademark with IP Australia. The registration process is a rather arduous one, though, with a significant number of steps involved before a trademark is deemed to be protected by law. Thankfully though, if there is a legal dispute regarding your trademark, the date of registration will be taken from the time in which you first begin the process, and not the date it is actually registered. Therefore, it is important that you begin this process as soon as possible.
Before registering a trademark, however, it is recommended that you seek legal advice, as registering a trademark can be a costly endeavour. The last thing you would want is to go through the entire process only to learn that IP Australia will not register the trademark due to a technicality. Also, in the event that someone uses your registered trademark in the future, it is always good to have a legal professional who is familiar with your business and your trademarks to keep a watchful eye on direct or indirect infringement of your IP.
If you are looking to start your own locksmith business or expand your already existing locksmith business, it is important you take care to ensure that your intellectual property is protected. You have worked long and hard to develop a reputation and gain the loyalty of customers, so the last thing you want is for someone to take that from you. Through protecting your trademarks you can begin the process of ensuring that your business is protected well into the future. However, the process of protecting your trademarks can be a long and arduous one, so it is important that you seek the advice of a legal professional before you begin the process of registration. Finally, if you have any further questions regarding how to protect the intellectual property of your business, feel free to call LegalVision for a fixed-fee quote.