As we had to get new website designs, social media profiles, letterheads, brochure, business cards, newsletter design and more, the whole exercise was quite time consuming and costly..
Now we have first hand experience of what our clients go through when they rebrand. For those who are infringing on someone else’s trademark a name change will be involved, and this will entail a lot more work.
Anyone who is tempted to pick a name without doing proper due diligence, perhaps shrugging off the risks by assuming they will just rebrand if it comes to it, should think again. An enforced rebrand will involve changing everything at short notice. The time, cost and disruption could cause business failure. Taking a risk over your name is not a sensible business risk to take. It’s more akin to gambling.
A brand refresh is a more accurate description for what we went through given that we did not change our name.
For some time now, we have been thinking about who we are, what we do, how we do it, for whom we do it, and what it is like to deal with us. Having reached some clarity on all this we were ready to have a designer create a new logo and designs for us.
Choosing new designs was sheer pleasure. The effort and expense involved were well worth it and now our brand is reflected in a new logo, tagline, and a more dynamic colouring we are ready to build an online presence that clarifies what we stand for, amplifies it and supports the brand.
Old and new logo
Our previous logo had been created shortly after Azrights was formed. Back then we differed from other law firms simply because we were an IP law firm. However, we had not focussed on differentiating ourselves from other IP firms. In my next post I will explain the rationale behind our rebrand. Here I want to highlight the steps we have taken to protect the new brand and why.
Our chosen logo back in 2006 comprised this old fashioned typescript because it denoted Intellectual Property (IP), creativity and copyright.
However, the logo was completely unsuited to the digital nature of our legal skills and much of the work we have attracted since starting the new firm.
Our new logo better communicates our brand values of making IP easy to access, and register globally, as well as the digital nature of our focus.
Protecting the logo
Our name, Azrights was already registered as a trademark back in 2005.
To protect the logo we have filed applications to register it both as a design and as a trade mark.
This is essential both for protecting the brand and also to secure ownership over our logo. We secured copyright in the logo as part of our contract with the designer, but wanted to go further in order to avoid losing the distinctive look of the logo if others were to copy it.
Consider Coca Cola’s distinctive iconic bottle shape. Had they not protected the initial design with registrations Coca Cola would not be in the position they are in today of owning the bottle design. Without IP protection the bottle could and would have been copied by numerous other drinks companies, and nobody would uniquely associate the bottle shape with Coca Cola.
We are hardly in Coca Cola’s league. However, the principles are similar. If you have something distinctive, you need to protect it so it can remain distinctive and unique to you.
To draw an analogy between business and war, in business it is fair to assume copying. Intellectual property rights provide the way to tackle copying and to deter others from encroaching on your rights. They are the equivalent of the weapons with which you would arm yourself for war.
IP rights are how you prevent copying of your distinctive names, logos and inventions. Whether you choose to do so or not by taking legal action is a separate matter. Often, simply registering your rights is enough to deter others from copying.
Good preparation for business
In business securing whatever IP rights you can secure over important brand elements like your name and logo is advisable, especially if you are thinking big.
When preparing for war you would probably take a range of weapons with you, such as guns, knives and hand grenades in case a knife was more suitable than a gun for a particular situation. IP rights are similar in that copyright, designs, trade marks each give you different possibilities. They complement each other.
For example, if anyone were to copy our new logo the copyright in the logo may not be enough basis to stop the copying. The other party might claim to have come up with a similar logo independently without copying. Proving that they copied might be an insurmountable, expensive hurdle.
In contrast, our design registration puts us in a very strong position. The fact that the logos are the same would be enough to put the other party in the wrong, even if they did not copy our logo.
We have our trade mark too, although in some situations the trade mark may not help us tackle copying. For example, if the copy logo appeared on a website that was not selling anything, we could not use our trade mark to complain about the copying. We could, however, use our design registration to do so.
Having copyright, design, and trademark protection over the logo puts us in a stronger position to tackle whatever happens in future.
If you have branded your business without protecting your brand, then why not book a free consultation with us, or take our test to find out if your IP is safe?