Many businessmen believe that it is not necessary to know how to protect a trademark, i.e. the trade name under which they work in the market or the trademarks with which they identify the products or services they offer.
However, every business – from a restaurant or a flower shop, to an architectural firm or a law firm – is a business that has to be able to are created with the vocation of commercializing some type of product or service and, to achieve this, they differentiate themselves with signs that identify them and distinguish them from their competitors. Hence the importance of maintaining a good brand image.
Customers do not choose companies, they choose brands. Brands, and the values associated with them, are the first thing that consumers identify and that make them choose a particular product or service. These signs are the point of union between customers and the company.
Trademarks become commercial assets that enhance the value of companies, often becoming more important than physical assets and can be exploited and even sold to third parties.
What is brand protection?
In an increasingly globalized environment where internationalization is part of a company’s natural growth process, it is important to have a good level of brand protection.
We must bear in mind that the brand is not only used to identify a business, service or product, but that brands implicitly carry the recognition of a series of values that, on occasions, can represent a high additional value. This is what is known as the intangible value of the company. Hence the need to protect them, not only to protect our business and keep our online reputation safe, but also to avoid the illegitimate use that any third party could make of them.
Why is it important to protect a trademark?
The protection granted by the trademark right is obtained through registration. The fact of having a registered trademark confers to its owner a privilege of exclusivity. The registered trademark recognizes the right to use that sign in the economic traffic and prevents third parties from marketing identical or similar products or services with a trademark that may create confusion.
It is a common mistake to confuse the registration of a trademark with the registration of the company’s corporate name in the Commercial Registry or with obtaining a domain name for use on the Internet. Small and medium-sized companies invest a lot of money, time and effort in advertising, market research, corporate image, positioning, etc. In short, everything involved in building a brand image, but do not choose to protect their name. Thus, in the event of a dispute or defamation, all this preliminary work is completely fruitless and, in the worst case, the company is even obliged to stop using its name.
Even if the brand name under which we market our products coincides with our corporate name, registration in the Commercial Registry is not sufficient nor does it in any case guarantee protection of the trademark. It is also necessary to have the trademark registered at the Trademark Office or the corresponding agency, since only in that case we will be able to resort to the protection mechanisms offered by the intellectual property legislation.
When the brand is well protected, the company can project its image, investing in it safely and avoiding future conflicts. It is for this reason that companies must take care of their brands. Doing so does not involve a large financial outlay, although it is advisable to seek advice from a good team of experts and plan the best strategy to protect your brand.
How to protect your company’s brand
Chances are that one of the questions you’re asking yourself if you’ve made it this far is: How do I protect my brand?
Although it is a very technical subject, it is important to understand the legal aspects that can guarantee your protection and that relate to patent application, trademark, trademark copyright and symbols.
In order to protect the trademark in a comprehensive manner, it is advisable to act quickly and register as soon as possible to avoid conflicts or claims from competitors. In this section we give you some tips and ideas on how to protect a trademark.
- Protect the privacy of your patents. Keep all patents you hold as pending intellectual property secret. It is important to have a controlled flow of information that ensures that your product information is seen only by those involved in the process and no one else. Do not give any sensitive details until the patent is officially registered or in force.
- Check the contract. There must be a formal contract between partners and product developers. that specifically identifies each member’s ownership of pending patents and the exact distribution of intellectual property. Check that pending intellectual property or patents and proprietary rights cannot be claimed by developers without prior consent.
- Patent your product as soon as possible. To save time and money, you should first concentrate on national patents until growth requires international protection. A smart strategy for temporary protection is to apply for a preliminary patent that allows you to protect intellectual property and products with much less bureaucracy while the patent awaits approval.
- Perform a trademark clearance search. With the help of professionals in the field, you can determine whether a product patent already has a trademark. This includes brand names, logos, icons, headlines and images. By contracting a permit search service they can perform a comprehensive search.
- Obtain the registered trademark mark. After it has been determined that there are no further claims to the product, an application to register the mark may be filed. Formally registered trademarks are marked with an “R” (®) to indicate full ownership.
- Check for Brand Derivatives. Be sure to register all the main domain suffixes for the trademark or slogan. This provides protection in case someone wants to steal your name.
- Establish clear IP license limits. It is important to establish clear procedures for licensing intellectual property to third parties. For subsequent licensing or franchise agreements, make sure that the legal and financial terms of the partnership are clearly defined and drafted and reviewed by legal professionals.
- Identify your legal ownership. Show your ownership of written material that has been published with a small copyright mark or the word “copyright” and the year of publication. In addition, register all your most valuable copyrights. All individual works must be submitted separately.
- Determines the clear ownership of copyrights. Maintain clear contractual agreements with all third parties containing product-related writing materials. Make sure these contracts clearly identify the company as the copyright owner. These agreements may provide legal protection if the third party decides to use the written material later for its own purposes.
In conclusion, brand protection is one more element to be taken into account in the company’s growth strategy, especially if we want to ensure that our brand is associated with certain values that are ultimately going to identify your company or your products with quality standards. Your brand is your company’s most important asset.
Were you aware of how important brand protection really is for a company? Tell us your opinion or personal experience in the comments section. We look forward to reading you.