Tag Archives: IP Protection

Protecting Name

Why You Need to Protect a Name and Other Intangible Assets Immediately

Protecting NameThe 7 Costly Mistakes People Make When Turning their Big Idea into a Business, or when Branding or Rebranding Anything

Since a brand gives your idea or product identity, not registering it as a trademark leaves you wide open.

Your market share could be stolen by a competitor if they use the same name and register it themselves because you haven’t bothered to do so.

Can you imagine what it would mean to your business if somebody else registered their business using your name or one very similar to yours, even though you used the name first?

It would cost a lot of money to argue it out with them. Effectively, you risk losing ownership of your own name!

If you weigh the very affordable cost of registering your brand versus the cost and trouble of legal suits over an unregistered name, you will understand why it is wise to take no chances.

The same way you secure your website or Shopify site with a password or your physical business with doors and security right from the start so you should secure your intangible assets, such as your business name.

If you take the security of your brand and IP with the same seriousness that you take your website security and physical business’ security, you will be on the right track. It is a big risk not to register your brand name as a trademark immediately you decide on a name.

Many entrepreneurs have watched their businesses go up in smoke – not from the theft of their products but from the theft of their idea, their brand – which is the very essence of their business. All because they did not take any measures to get a good name and secure it right from the beginning.

Do bear in mind that registration alone does not give you the protection you need though. You first need to establish that the name is available for you to adopt. That means getting a trademark lawyer’s advice on it as mentioned in Mistake #5. The UK and EU trademark offices will not stop someone else registering exactly the same name as an existing trademark. In the USA, the USPTO would stop a duplicate registration though.

So, assuming you are in the UK or EU, or some other country that allows duplicates registrations, then remember you get no protection simply by registering the name. This is clear from the case of Microsoft’s SKYDRIVE!

Not protecting the brand and visual identity through trademark registration is a mistake

Of course, trademarks are not the only type of IP to worry about. Remember, you don’t get any protection for your idea or invention if you disclose it before registering a patent, and you have a limited window of opportunity to secure design registration for an innovative design concept. And when it comes to trademarks, there’s a lot more to them than simply registering a mark.

Lack of protection risks your distinctive brand elements becoming generic. Coca Cola would never have secured a monopoly over its iconic bottle shape if it had not protected its designs at the outset when the design was first created.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, when you have an idea take the right steps to turn it into valuable intellectual property. IP assets don’t automatically just exist. You need to identify, capture and secure the IP in your idea. That involves making the right choices, such as of the name you give it. Otherwise, you could fail to create value from your idea.

The lesson is simple – if you’re an inventor, or entrepreneur with an idea, IP is crucial to you as is the brand you create. If you have an idea to better serve your clients, an idea to make your difference in the world, then give it the best chance of success. Take account of IP as it will be important to your plans.

Find out more how BrandTuned helps you turn that idea into commercial form or to fine tune your existing brand and business.

Why Most Businesses Fail at Legally Protecting Themselves!

Why Most Businesses Fail at Legally Protecting Themselves!

Why Most Businesses Fail at Legally Protecting Themselves!While SMEs are increasingly aware of the importance of intellectual property only a fraction of business owners are getting the right IP protection

That’s because IP is a complex subject, and business owners often don’t have a clue what they should do until it’s too late! Most will find out how well they’ve secured their IP once it gets challenged. If they’ve done it themselves then that’s when they’ll realise that the £200 trademark they thought was sufficient, isn’t!

Often businesses focus on the wrong IP, or register a right without first establishing whether it is legally available to use.

A common myth is that if you don’t have the resources to challenge other people’s use of your IP, there is no point in securing any IP rights in the first place. By not laying claim to an  IP someone else could use it, leading to disputes. Even without the resources to defend an IP right, litigation might arise. Costs involved in ceasing to use IP are ten times as much as costs to protect your rights in the first place.

But if you think IP is just about registration of rights, you’re missing the point. There are many facets to the subject. It requires guidance and support from an experienced IP lawyer to determine what the right strategy is for protecting your business assets.

Find out more via our website or one of our workshops.

Why Every Business Needs an Intellectual Property Strategy

Nowadays there is increasing awareness about the value of “intellectual property” and brands. Yet “intellectual property” is a term that alienates many people because they don’t understand what it means or how it applies to them.

According to IP Asset Maximizer, more than 50 % of corporate value today lies in the form of intangible assets. So it’s worth developing an awareness of your IP. Every business has the potential to have some intangible assets.

Intangible assets will comprise IP like patents, trade secrets, copyright, trademarks, and contractual relationships. Employee knowledge is also valuable IP and is one reason why it’s worth having a know-how system in place to capture knowledge to preserve the company’s intellectual capital.

However, IP assets don’t just exist without more. They need to be identified, captured, protected and commercialised in order to realize their value. Whatever size of business you are, you need to manage your intangible assets.

While the importance of an IP strategy is appreciated in larger organisations, it’s not so well appreciated at the smaller company level. An IP strategy is just as important for smaller businesses, including early stage businesses.                                          

Some entrepreneurs, especially those in start-up mode, are skeptical whether it’s actually worth spending money protecting something that has little or no immediate value, such as their name. An analogy to the physical world may help explain this.

If someone built a house on a plot of land that didn’t belong to them you’d wonder why they were spending time and money on such an inherently risky project. The owner of the land could evict them at any time. Even if the land was for sale, it would make sense to first buy it in case someone else beat them to it and bought the plot first. Demolishing your house and finding another plot to rebuild it on would be very expensive.

So, if you don’t want to register your name as a trade mark, an appropriate IP strategy can accommodate that, and you have various choices for approaching this. Effectively, you could decide to just to build a temporary shed on the plot for now, with a view to building a house later, either on that land or elsewhere once your fortunes improved.

Not securing the intangible rights to something like your brand name is the equivalent of building a house on a plot of land you don’t own. It’s far easier to buy the rights at the beginning than to conjecture whether you would have strong enough rights to fend off someone else who beat you to the punch and registered the name first.

Moreover the name you choose determines how good your plot will be to build on. Some name choices will give you a completely clear area to call your own. It’s as if your land were in the middle of countryside with few neighbors looking on. On the other hand, other name choices would put you in a heavily overlooked area with the likelihood of trespassers constantly coming onto your land no matter how hard you worked to ring fence your patch.

If the aims of the business are to first see whether it is viable before incurring costs registering rights, then an appropriate IP strategy might be to rebrand in a couple of years if the business succeeds.  However, it is a mistake to then completely neglect all IP issues.  There are some IP rights which are lost forever if not addressed in the early days. Once the business succeeds its intangible assets acquire value.

So even a modest start up needs an IP strategy. If the business will generate IP rights which others are unlikely to freely sign over if left until the business succeeds, then the IP strategy will involve securing those rights immediately rather than postponing this.

I hope this post will serve to demonstrate that an IP strategy is not set in stone. Its details will vary for each business, based on the industry, the available budget and resources, and most important of all, the business’ goals.

If you have yet to set your IP strategy, now might be the time to do it. The economic climate is tough, and deferring decisions about IP protection can mean that important IP issues are neglected. Neglect is not an appropriate IP strategy for any business.