Tag Archives: shireen smith

Branding: The Value Of Working Out Purpose

branding-purpose

Last week I mentioned how I had found my purpose after committing to think about it by regularly revisiting the question.

Branding and Intellectual Property – Why You Should Begin With the End in Mind

This took several months. Part of the reason it might have taken so long is that the question was bound up with how I could turn my intellectual property work into something which includes my interest in business and branding.

I have always been interested in the commercial side of life, which is why I became an in-house lawyer at Reuters.

I’ve been very into marketing, business, and branding since founding Azrights too. So, dealing purely with intellectual property felt like I was only addressing half the issues many of my clients faced.

True some of my clients need purely intellectual property legal work. However, even they have teams to educate on IP, and there is currently no solution on the market to enable them to do this and protect their IP on an ongoing basis. So, I saw a way to add value to them that is not purely about traditional legal services, namely, via Legally Branded Academy 2.0 described below.

Those that are starting new ventures, or growing their businesses would often really benefit if I were more involved, such as with their branding.

I can add significant value in areas that are intertwined with intellectual property law. Often a deep understanding of IP is needed, and I’ve realised that a multidisciplinary approach best serves clients.

As I pondered all this, I wondered what I would offer. I didn’t see that I would add sufficient value by offering branding, so I gradually worked out that I would able to offer value by offering an online course or a one day workshop to begin the process of educating clients.

Also, I can provide a process to make it very easy for branding and other business advisers to get multi-disciplinary input into their projects.

 

Legally Branded Academy 2.0

Gradually over time the online Legally Branded Academy course I had been working on, turned into something quite powerful.

It’s the first intellectual property system that provides a process approach to IP protection and team training.

I’ve spent years thinking about how companies might best manage IP issues if they don’t have a dedicated inhouse IP resource, which few have  You see the very early actions a business takes often have the most significant IP implications from a risk management point of view.

It can already be too late once the business turns to its lawyers to protect its IP if there is a deficiency in its past actions. Legally Branded Academy isn’t a law course, and as such is relevant to the international audience.

It replaces expensive one to one legal advice with processes which embed IP best practice and education. By implementing and using the processes a company trains team members, and protects its IP seamlessly

For example, the course includes a copyright process involving the use of a template at the start of projects to secure ownership of the IP.

As well as basic IP information, there are explanations on issues like IP holding companies, and use of IP symbols including internationally that companies need to know

There are explanations about what types of name are desirable to choose and why from a trade mark perspective. It also covers how to do basic research on a short list of names.

Marketing departments, entrepreneurs, and design agencies that only choose one or two new names a year need access to this sort of information so they choose wisely. A solid process is provided for them to follow when selecting a new name. The information includes “over the shoulder” style instructions on how to pick the classifications to search and how to do basic IP register checks. This sort of assessment of a name is vital before handing over to lawyers for final clearance searches and registration.

This is most certainly not a course about replacing lawyers or doing your own legal work. It’s simply the best way for organisations to manage IP risks and opportunities and avoid mistakes.

Legally Branded Academy 2.0 is the most cost effective way to protect companies in the early stages of any project, such as when they’re trialing new concepts, starting up new businesses etc. Following the processes gives the business ongoing day to day protection so they grow on solid foundations using processes.

They can ensure their teams learn what they need to know about IP, and save time by not needing to undo earlier ill-considered actions and decisions

Legally Branded Academy is my flagship online IP course It reflects a methodology I’ve developed to help organisations introduce simple processes to ensure their IP is protected on an ongoing basis as the business grows and expands.

 

IP is where the value lies

Intellectual property is invariably where the value of a successful business lies, albeit sometimes the IP in some assets may not be initially appreciated. To avoid unpleasant hidden surprises that might, for example, prevent a business exploiting a valuable asset, involves introducing simple measures to secure IP in business assets as these are created.

Legally Branded 2.0 solves the problem of how organizations might put in place solid foundations to manage their IP protection on a day to day basis. Process is the way to do it.

The final point that helped me to arrive at my purpose was down to the changes I’d made to the Azrights business since 2016 when we moved the firm towards remote working.

It’s a journey that has not been without its difficulties and I will probably end up getting offices again soon, but the move to remote working has strengthened the firm considerably and gives us new approaches which we would never have discovered without making this change.

 

 Remote Working

Remote working is still a controversial and complicated topic with a lot of people keen to list the cons.

I outlined our experience of remote working at Azrights in a recent blog and will explore this topic more in future posts given that companies like IBM and Yahoo, both big tech companies, have reversed their positions on employees working remotely.

What message does it spread to the rest of the business world, with regards to this form of working?

Although, I’ve had challenges with remote working, and recruiting the right team members, for myself personally my productivity and satisfaction has benefited enormously from remote working.

I’ve been able to fall in love with my business once again thanks to remote working, and as mentioned, it’s given me the gift of time and the freedom to get on with the task of running the business, and creating new offerings, rather than simply managing the office.

But I do understand why these large corporations have changed their minds on a practice that they once couldn’t get enough of. Not all employees are suited to remote working so remote working can come at a detrimental cost to the business.

What is for sure is that you need to work hard at building the sort of culture change that is needed for successful remote working to be effective.

Reading David Heinermeler Hansson’s book Remote it’s clear that you need to maintain good communication and ensure that employees have complete clarity as to what is expected from them. It’s also desirable to have regular physical and online meetings. Some people even suggest  3 online meetings a week, as well as short 10 minute daily ones!

 

New Azrights office in Hastings

My purpose is to help businesses succeed by better positioning themselves in the market, and protecting that positioning with IP protection. I want to give businesses greater security to grow knowing they’ve protected their assets and underpinned their business with intellectual property processes to protect their IP.

I’m intending to amplify my message by seeking more speaking opportunities, producing more content and creating more partnerships with other businesses and professionals.

I’ll be expanding the Azrights business when I personally move my home from London to Hastings next month.

The London office will remain our headquarters. However, we will also have a Hastings office, and this is where I intend to recruit team members.

Realising how hard it is to find people who are suited to remote working and who can be trusted to remain productive when working remotely it remains to be seen how easy it will be to grow the team.

Certainly, I’ll be looking for local people who can work closely with me. I’m intending to find an admin who might become a trainee solicitor in due course, and also a marketing/sales manager.

I’ll be trying out some new ideas when I engage new team members which includes meeting every week as well as having 2-3 online meetings a week to keep everyone accountable and working towards the good of the business.

The next step now is to meet as many businesses as possible in Hastings. I would love connections to law firms, accountants, design agencies, business coaches, and others. If you know any who might be interested in our launch party do put them in touch. I’d be most grateful.

Branding and Intellectual Property – Why You Should Begin With the End in Mind

intellectual property branding“Begin With the End in Mind.” as Stephen Covey put it in the 7 habits of highly effective people.

It’s worth taking the time to consider what you ultimately value in life. What really matters to you, and what you hope it all adds up to in the end.

Studies have shown that living a life of purpose leads to better health and overall happiness.

Think about what your purpose in life is and keep doing so regularly till you’re clear.

 

Working Out My Purpose

One way I’ve looked at the topic is to ask myself, if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness like Steve Jobs was, would I continue working, doing what I’m doing to the end or would I immediately want to stop work?

For me, the answer is that I would continue working to the end, as Steve Jobs did because I’ve gradually created a business that is engaged in solving a meaningful problem in the world, and I have a vision for how to do it.

It wasn’t always so.

If the answer for you indicates that you are probably not living your purpose, then continue to search for it by doing work that takes you closer to it and you too might gradually find your purpose as I’ve now found mine.

I’d been working towards it all these years and step by step I’ve now found it.

 

Those Who Always Knew Their Purpose Are Rare

There are those lucky ones in life who just know what their life purpose is from a young age, and they know the path to follow to achieve their purpose.

A friend of mine at law school had wanted to be a lawyer since she was 9, and she’s gone on to do great things as a lawyer.

I recently went to see the film On the Basis Of Sex based on the life and early cases of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg and clearly she was one of those lucky ones with a calling for the law. She also chose a husband who was similarly dedicated to the law.

I’m sad that I didn’t always know my life purpose, nor did I know how important it is to search for it till recently.

But at least I’ve gradually arrived at it, albeit relatively late in the day although now that I’ve found it, I feel sure that its effect will be quickly evident in my business.

 

Background Behind My Career Choice of Law

Choosing law as a profession was more a conscious choice than a calling for me. I wanted a professional qualification. My A level subjects narrowed the options to law or accountancy.

It would have been great to be able to choose architecture. That really appealed to me, but I lacked the Art and Maths A levels needed. The fact is though that I didn’t go back to school to get those subjects because it wasn’t that important to me to qualify as an architect.

So, that’s how I opted for law.

Over the years I often questioned whether the choice of career was the right one. Aspects of the job that didn’t appeal to me were being stuck in an office pouring over contract wording. The jobs I had in private practice involved too much of that, even though on the surface it seemed glamorous when I worked at Eversheds, an international law firm.

My in-house role at Reuters for 5 years was much more suited to my inclinations and interests, as there was more contact with the client, and I was exposed to the commercial side of life.

I had always had a vague idea of setting up my own business but a law firm business was just too daunting given my lack of experience of private practice.

During maternity leave I explored alternative career options, qualifying as a journalist. At one stage I even seriously considered setting up a Persian Ash food business.

However, I invariably gravitated back to law, and it was intellectual property law I chose to study as a Masters’ degree subject during the years I took out of the workplace to bring up my two daughters.

My father’s sudden death and the memory of his advice to set up my own law firm were the catalyst for taking the plunge and setting up what is now Azrights Solicitors.

 

Intellectual Property and Business Are Intertwined

Through the enquiries, I was receiving I soon discovered that people were making fundamental mistakes around IP.  Sometimes there were devastating consequences for some of these businesses leading to insolvency even.

I liked how closely intertwined business and IP are, which hadn’t been apparent when working on the intellectual property needs of a large blue-chip business, like Reuters. At the small business level, I could see just how significant IP is in any business. Yet it struck me how often people were completely unaware of the IP dimension and made decisions which were not in their long-term interests.

Over time I’ve realised that the best way to address the problems small businesses have with intellectual property is to embed legal advice and best practice into processes that businesses of any size can follow whether they’re start-ups or established.

The result is Legally Branded Academy 2.0, a risk management solution which will enable businesses located anywhere in the world to protect their intellectual property seamlessly. It’s launching soon so register your interest to be notified when it’s released.

People simply need to adopt recommended processes, and then induct their team to follow them when implementing new ideas.

My experience indicates that the mistakes businesses make around intellectual property occur in the early stages of projects, before anyone would even consider consulting a lawyer. Yet it’s just too impractical to take legal advice early on during the life of new projects on all the details you need to know.

Most people would want to first test the water, perhaps even wait and see if the project has any legs before asking a lawyer for help to protect what they’ve created.  Many will only think about protection if their project is a success.

However, with IP, a lot of “protection” happens in the early stages when you make choices. It’s as much about doing the right due diligences, signing the right documents, at the right time as it is about registering your rights. Hence why the right procedures are the way to protect IP, and I’m launching Legally Branded Academy 2.0 to enable everyone to protect their IP.

 

Aligning Branding With Intellectual Property

Over the years I have also gradually learned more about branding and its importance to business success.

One problem is that people assume branding is about getting pretty design work done, whereas the visual identity is the last thing to work on not the first. You just need some inexpensive designs initially while you test the market, and focus on designing the actual business itself rather than its visual appearance.

Another problem is that people don’t realise how vital it is to register their rights once they undergo branding. It’s essential to have a budget for both branding and IP protection because the whole point of branding is to stand out, and if you don’t stand out from an IP point of view then you don’t stand out as a business. And if you don’t protect the unique visual identity that’s designed for you, then you risk it becoming generic, undoing all the expensive branding work in the process.

 

Positioning and Your Niche

But before that, the really important decisions about branding are your positioning in the market and working out your niche. These are the things that make the difference between success or failure for a business.

Businesses tend to change radically in the early years. A few years after starting up, they may look nothing like their initial manifestation. This is because it’s common for new businesses to not know what it is exactly that they do, and who they do it for.

It can take time for start-ups to find their feet.  The business needs to see how the market responds to its offerings, so its initial focus might well change.

As a business gradually achieves clarity about the demand for its goods and services, and figures out which services will generate revenue, it can better position itself in the market.

Education and a commitment to working on the business is what branding should involve in the early days. I’ve created a course, More Than Brand, to enable people to do this

 

Trademarks and IP, Business and Branding

Topics I deal with all the time like trademarks and naming are closely connected with branding so I found myself more and more engaged by the related topics of branding, business and the intellectual property dimension of law.

The combination of these subjects matter enormously to business success and are not necessarily particularly obvious or exciting to businesses so they can miss some important issues when they’re implementing new business ideas.

My purpose is to help businesses to succeed and have greater security by underpinning their business with intellectual property processes to protect their IP.

I want to revolutionise branding by partnering with branding agencies and business advisers to bring intellectual property into the mix. IP is often missed out in branding currently, and treated as something you can leave till later, when you come to protect your IP. However, that is incorrect because branding involves creating new IP and if you don’t consider IP you could end up with an inadequate brand.

Providing a multidisciplinary approach when branding a business is the key to ensuring that businesses undergoing branding increase their chances of success.

So, now I have this clarity about the purpose of the Azrights business, it will help when engaging team members because if their purpose as individuals aligns with that of the Azrights business we’ll have the right dynamic for a longer term relationship.

 

How to Work Out Your Purpose

So, to go back to purpose. Whether you’re looking for employment or are starting a new venture it’s vital to ask yourself some searching questions. What’s the motivation driving it?

Getting clarity on purpose is essential. As Steve Jobs put it, doing work you love is important. He said

You’ve got to find what you love . . . Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work”…..”the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

This question of fulfilment and purpose is an important one for all of us to think about whether we’re in business or working in careers.

If you’re starting a new venture, then are you aiming to make it big? Do you aspire to be the next Richard Branson or Anita Roddick? Or are you just intending to be self-employed?  Certainly, when I founded my law firm, 15 years ago I just wanted to work flexibly around my two daughters so I could be there for them instead of handing over to a nanny to raise them.

Aspirations change over time. Certainly, mine have.

My ambition, and love of entrepreneurship were the catalyst to growing the Azrights business, and now with clarity around my purpose the Azrights business is set to make a far greater impact I hope.

 

Conclusion

Life is short and at the end of the day you’re going to ask yourself the question, or your children will wonder on your behalf, what was it all about, what were you up to during your short time on earth?

I believe that what we do can touch other people’s lives in ways we’ll never know. So, it’s not necessarily my own visible achievements that will ultimately matter the most. Who knows how others might be impacted or benefit from my existence or ideas?

We all want to dedicate ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves. Doing so contributes to our need for significance and meaning.

Purpose is innate to the human condition. If you’re doing work that gives your life meaning why ever stop?

That’s why the important thing for me is to continue contributing to the world. Far from wanting to retire, I want to continue working for as long as I am healthy and able to work. I hope that will be at a 100 years old.

5 Crucial Points About Trademarks Everyone Should Consider

trademarkThere are 5 crucial points to know about trademarks that might change your entire approach to branding and trademark registration. I’ll start by answering the question what is a trademark.

 

 

What is a Trademark?

Trademarks are signs used in business to identify products and services in the market place.

Customers can find you by recognising your unique sign identifiers and avoid confusing other providers for you.  You might have a variety of identifiers – your name, logo, and tagline being the typical ones.

The single most common one people would recognise you by though, especially if they look for you online, is your name.

So, if you have delivered a good and effective service, and customers want to buy from you again or refer their friends and family to you, the unique identifier they would use to do so will be your name – often not your own personal name, but your business or brand name.

A trademark is a device or tool created by the law that enables consumers to find the products and services they’re interested in. It’s a container of your brand signs, such as your brand name.

Trademarks serve this purpose of being your “badge of origin”.  They’re designed to avoid customer confusion which is why a trademark has to be able to function as a unique identifier of your products and services.  A trademark therefore tends to be a most valuable asset as you build goodwill.

However, not all signs qualify for exclusive “ownership” as trademarks.

 

1. Names that Don’t Qualify As A Trademark

 Say you provide IT support services and call your business IT Support, you won’t be able to stop another IT support business also referring to themselves as IT support.

The law will not give anyone exclusive rights to use a term like IT Support which all other traders in the industry need to be able to freely use. If you use a sign like that which the law will not give you exclusive rights to, (for example, because the sign is too descriptive and not capable of functioning as a trademark), it means don’t have a unique identifier.  Effectively, it’s like not having a name.

Your competitors will be able to use the same sign or similar signs and steal some of your market share – they’ll get business that might have been looking for you. As such it’s like having a leaky colander rather than a leak-proof container for your brand. As such it means your brand value will be reduced, it will be less than it might otherwise have been.

Consumers will be confused when looking for your products and services.

Say you register IT Support with a logo. You will secure trademark registration, yes. However, what you’re essentially getting protection over is the logo, not the name. The law will not accept IT support as functioning as a trademark, so the name element won’t be exclusive to your business. Competitors would also be able to use IT support as a name to identify their business.

As the name is such an important identifier it is important to make sure any name you’re using with your logo is one that is capable of functioning as a trademark.  Otherwise, your trademark registration isn’t going to give you the unique rights over the name element of your trademark that you need. You will end up with customer confusion in the marketplace, and this will reduce your profitability as a business.

On the other hand, if you choose a good name that can uniquely belong to you, it will protect you even where someone is simply using a similar name that could be confused with yours by consumers.

A name that can’t function as a trademark won’t even protect you against use of exactly the same name by a competitor. Remember that buyers are not going to be so aware of the look of your logo if they’ve heard of your business from their friends and family as to be able to recognise from the logo on the website that it’s not your business but that of a competitor.

So, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by a logo trade mark registration. Remember that the primary benefit of a trademark should be to enable you to challenge others who use similar names.

For an IT support business, a better choice of name would be Geek Squad.

However, there can only be one Geek Squad. If someone else is already using the name in the country in which you operate or has registered it as a trademark, you’d need to avoid choosing that name or indeed any name that’s similar to it. Otherwise you’d be infringing on the trade mark rights of the earlier mark.

From this it follows that once you have chosen a name, you MUST check that it’s available to use before adopting it.  So legal effectiveness and availability are keys to trademarks.

Domain and company names need to be checked before use too but it’s trademarks that govern rights in names. The fact that a domain name or company name is available to register doesn’t mean you can use the name for any purpose you like. You must only use the name for purposes which don’t conflict with third parties’ existing trademark rights.

This brings me to the next important aspect of trademarks you should be aware of, and that is trademark classes.

 

2. How Trademark Classifications Work. 

Trademarks are registered by reference to specific ‘classes’ or business categories. So you need to think through your plans, and identify the business categories that are relevant to your type of business, and then search and register your mark in those.

Under trademark law names may be shared.  So, if your desired name is already registered but for different business activities, you may still be able to use the mark, and co-exist with another business who is using the same name for those different purposes.

For example, Automobile Association and American Airlines are both known as AA; and are both registered trademarks.

Similarly, Polo is registered by three different businesses who use the name for a car, confectionery, and a line of clothing. Another example is Delta which is used both as a brand name for airlines, and for kitchenware and appliances. Dove is a brand of personal care products, but it is also a brand of chocolate

The take away from this is to identify the trademark classes applicable for your brand when searching, and drafting your trademark. The classifications determine the scope of protection you get.

You should seek the widest scope of protection necessary to avoid having someone else build up rights to use a brand sign in the business categories you need

Say you register your name to sell clothing, and then later decide to also sell cosmetics. If someone else is using a similar name to yours for cosmetics, you might infringe on their rights by extending your activities to encompass cosmetics, meaning you would need to find a different name for your cosmetics line.

Don’t ever assume you may go ahead and use your name for any business activity you like. First check whether you’ve registered the name for that business category – cosmetics, in this example, and if not, do a search and register in the new business category before embarking on the new use of your name.

 

3. Why Register a trademark

The third point to consider about trademarks is why bother registering.

Trademarks are an essential step to securing the exclusive rights your business needs over elements of your brand identity. It’s also the way to retain your brand’s distinctiveness, and to avoid seeing it become generic.

Registering a trademark is the formality you need to go through to secure ownership over your brand sign. As already mentioned, prioritise the name because it’s the primary way people will identify you.

A trademark enables you to stop others using the same mark. By having a registration in place, others are on notice of your rights.

Provided you’ve checked that you can use the name before you register it you get exclusive rights over the name in the business categories in which you register your mark.

It’s important to undertake proper searches because in some jurisdictions like the EU a registration doesn’t protect you against infringement. For example, Skydrive was a registered trademark of Microsoft but wasn’t enough to prevent them from infringing on Sky’s trademark rights. Sky took the matter to court arguing that the names were confusingly similar for cloud services and the court agreed with Sky. So, Microsoft was forced to rebrand to Onedrive.

Some countries such as Spain require names to be registered as the rights in names are based on who first registers a name rather than who uses it first.

In common law countries using a mark without registering it does give the user certain rights, but they are a lot more limited, and costly to enforce than most people realise. If you don’t register your trade mark, you risk losing uniqueness. Something that started out initially as distinctive to your brand can quickly become generic. Had Coca Cola not protected its iconic bottle right from the outset when the bottle was designed for the company, there is no way the bottle would today be uniquely associated with their brand.

A case that demonstrates how precarious it is to rely on mere use of a mark involved two bands that were both called Blue. BBC. One was a current boy band backed by EMI and the other was a 70s rock group known as Blue. That band had a single released in 1977 which got to number 18 in the charts, and had since released 16 singles, seven albums and several remixes. They hadn’t registered a trademark, and as a result, were unable to stop the new boy band using the name BLUE. The take away is to register a trademark. They’re relatively cheap to register, and very expensive to defend or enforce when you haven’t registered one.

The advantages of registering a trademark are significant. Registration considerably reduces the risk of others picking the same brand element for their new products or services because your registration is on the public trademark registers. People are expected to search these registers before choosing names or other brand elements. If you’re not on the register someone else may build rights over the same name or another brand element, and this can lead to messy disputes and unnecessary costs. If you are on the register they are automatically in the wrong for using the same name and it is, therefore, a lot cheaper for you to enforce your rights than if you hadn’t registered a trademark.

 

4. International trademarks- Strategy

The fourth point about trademarks is that they are territorial.

What this means is that you need to apply to register a trademark in every country in which you want to trade and receive protection.  There is no such thing as an international trademark.

There is an international mechanism in place to apply for trademarks which makes applying for trademarks in a number of countries simpler to achieve. It involves filing an application in your home country first and then thanks to various international agreements between countries worldwide you get 6 months’ protection from the date you first file your first application. If you then file an application under the Madrid system you’re able to extend your base home country trademark to countries who are party to the system. You simply file a single application and designate your desired countries and pay the applicable fees.

 

Unfortunately, if you don’t protect your mark in countries in which you trade, you could find yourself in a situation similar to what happened in Plenty of Fish/Plenty More Fish. Plenty of Fish, a well-established online dating site objected to PlentyMoreFish setting up a rival online dating site in the UK under a similar name.  They opposed PlentyMoreFish’s UK trademark application, arguing that PlentyMoreFish was riding off its reputation by setting up the rival dating site. They lost because they couldn’t show that they had UK customers and as they hadn’t protected their brand with an EU trademark they were powerless to stop PlentyMoreFish. That type of situation would never happen within a country as there would be passing off laws and other remedies under local trademark laws which Plenty of Fish could have used to stop PlentyMoreFIsh. However, online it’s possible for this sort of scenario to arise unless you are vigilant about protecting your mark in countries in which you trade. Best to cover off your home market and the important jurisdictions in which you trade.

Prioritise registering in countries in which you do business first. The fact that trademarks are territorial means your registration only protects you in the UK (or EU, if you’ve registered an EU mark).

A UK trademark registration covers the UK only while an EU trademark registration currently covers all 28 European Union countries in a single application, including the UK.  However, once the UK leaves the EU after Brexit kicks in, an EU trademark will no longer include the UK. So, you should be considering your strategy carefully if you’re registering your mark now.

It is possible to extend your home country registration to other countries that are not party to the Madrid Protocol by filing directly with an agent in that country. At the time of writing, important countries that are not party to the Madrid include Hong Kong, South Africa and Canada. You don’t need to be a household name, or a huge multinational to aspire to be a brand in the sense of becoming a recognised provider of the products and service you sell. Your brand protection is important.

 

5. Oppositions/Objections

Oppositions and objections to trademark applications do occur from time to time and that is the fifth and final point to know about trade marks.

The trade mark process involves a review by the trade mark examiners of the registry to which you apply for your trademark. They may have objections.

A typical objection might be that the trademark isn’t properly applied for or to inform you of search results. Many people who file their own trademark applications don’t understand the Examiner’s objections and tend to abandon their applications as a result.  If you’re filing your own application make sure you have a resource you can turn to for advice if there are objections to your application, as they’re often quite simple to address.

Once any objections are dealt with and your application is approved it is advertised for what is known as opposition purposes.  That’s when existing trademark owners will be alerted to applications that are similar to their registrations so that they can consider whether to oppose any.

Either the IP office notifies them or if they have trademark watch services, they hear from their trade mark agents. They may not necessarily bother to oppose applications. In the UK that doesn’t stop them objecting to a registration several years later. Indeed they often won’t oppose a start up and wait and see whether the start up succeeds before deciding to do so.

The single most valuable information that could literally save some businesses from catastrophic results is to learn from the mistake of Scrabulous.

This was a very successful app on Facebook that provided a Scrabble like game online. It had hundreds of thousands of users when it was stopped overnight almost by a trademark and copyright infringement claim. The business came to the attention of Hasbro, the owners of Scrabble because they filed their own trademark application and Hasbro was notified.

Hasbro considered that the company was infringing on its brand by using a similar name, and were also infringing copyright in the board game.  Hasbro applied to Facebook to have the app taken down. Facebook immediately complied. The company lost its successful business on Facebook virtually overnight.

The set back paved the way for Zynga to enter the market with what has become the market leader, Words With Friends. Scrabulous lost its position as first in the market.

The teaching point here is to get an opinion from a good trademark lawyer before filing an application as the application itself would alert others to your activities.

Had Scrabulous sought my advice, I would have counseled them to quietly rebrand rather than apply for a trademark which was bound to bring their infringement to a head.

You can rebrand to new names without any loss of goodwill because you are able to redirect everyone to your new name. However, when you are required to rebrand due to a trademark infringement claim you lose the value of the brand name recognition you have built up. You lose all the brand value you’d built up as the terms of infringement undertakings will not permit you to repoint traffic or tell people that you used to be called X name.

Much better for a business like Scrabulous to have quietly rebranded to a new name, and never come to the attention of Hasbro. They would still be the market leader today probably.

So, the moral of the tale is not to be cavalier about names or get too attached to a name that you may not legitimately lay claim to. It is not possible to choose whatever name you like. At some point, you need to get an opinion on the name you’re using.

A wider lesson from the above is that if you’re running a business where you don’t think a buyer of your business will want to use your name, that doesn’t mean you need not protect your name or need not to bother to make sure you are using a good name.

Your market share is what a trademark protects. If you’re forced to rebrand you can’t keep the value you had generated, and effectively “vanish” overnight. It’s like being back to square one with a totally new name and business. Nobody knows who you are.

Is a Brand Intellectual Property? Definition of Brand and Intellectual Property

brand and intellectual propertyPeople often ask the question, what is a brand, or what is intellectual property, and is a brand intellectual property. Before I answer that question let’s look at what the terms mean.

A good starting point to understanding what brand and branding mean is to note the word’s origins. It started as a term to describe the identifying mark that was burned on livestock with a branding iron. That was how people could tell who owned the cattle.

Although the concept of branding has its roots in this visual imagery it’s important to appreciate that branding has moved on considerably since those times. While the visual identity matters, of course, branding is nowadays about so much more than a logo, or visual designs.  The visual identity is the final stage of branding not the first.

The Design of Your Business is Key

Branding nowadays is much more about the way you design your business than the designs you get for your business to use.

Even small businesses will have a brand. It’s not necessary to be a household name or a large business for “brand” to be relevant to you.

That’s because if you think about it, the big brands we all know and use, are all known for something specific.  Every single business, charity or entity can be said to have a ‘brand’ in the sense that they all have an identity rather like you or I have an identity as people.

We have a name, a way of dressing, talking, and walking and subjects we are known for or topics that we tend to talk about.

We have beliefs and opinions, and a certain personality. In short, we’re known for something.  People have a certain response to us or think of us in a certain way. So, anyone alive has an identity. The world can tell one person apart from another because of these differences between them.

In the same way, businesses also have an identity – a brand.

A company is a separate person in the eyes of the law. Even if you’re a sole trader your business identity will be an extension of you, but it will be separately identified, often under a trading name.

What you say, how you operate and so on reflects how you come across to others as a business and brand.  So, every business has a brand whether they know it or not. Every business has an identity and personality and as such has a brand.

Branding Process

The branding process involves thinking through how to create a good business that’s reliable and known for delivering on a specific promise. As the brand acquires pulling power, it will attract customers who positively want to do business with it rather than with the competition. The brand a business establishes gradually also attracts employees, suppliers and, ultimately, investors.

Think about the associations you have when considering successful brands such as Ikea or Apple. Notice how these names are known for delivering what is often an unspoken promise. In Ikea’s case, we expect to find affordable self-assembly furniture when visiting its stores. When we buy Apple products, we expect to get something that’s well designed, intuitive and easy to use.

Every brand has its own distinct ‘identity’ and ‘promise’. It’s due to this promise that we know to expect something completely different if we buy a Rolex watch rather than a Swatch.

You will need to think through how you want your business to be known. What quality or outcome will you want to deliver consistently and reliably? How will customers know what to expect if they use your product or service so that there’s little risk of an unpleasant surprise? Buying a product or service from a business whose brand is not yet known is risky because it represents something untried and untested.

Once a business becomes a recognised brand in its marketplace, it can command a price premium or a market premium. People are willing to pay a premium to receive the expected results the brand is known for delivering.

This applies even if the promise of the brand is based on price. For example, people may still prefer to shop at Ikea rather than at an unknown shop that offers even cheaper prices, because they have certain reassurances regarding product quality and the shopping experience they can expect at Ikea.

 

Shopping at Ikea Carries Little Risk

They won’t have this comfort and recognition if they use an unknown seller. Shopping at Ikea carries little risk because Ikea is a brand which means that customers know what to expect from it.

A brand is primarily about substance rather than surface visual imagery.  Indeed, nowadays even employed individuals and business owners need to consider their personal branding in terms of what they want to be known for.

Once you have worked out how you want to be known and sorted out your branding, get some designs to help support the overall impression and feelings you want your brand to evoke and convey.

If you don’t create a successful business that meets a market need, then no amount of ‘visual identity branding’ will turn your business into a brand.

My online course More Than Brand, helps you work through your branding including the intellectual property aspects of branding. You can even use it to work on your personal brand.

 

Intellectual Property

So, turning now to a definition of intellectual property, while I usually attempt to directly answer the question by defining intellectual property, I’ve realised it’s the wrong question.

Defining intellectual property doesn’t give people any greater clarity about what they’re supposed to do about intellectual property. What’ lies behind the question, “What is intellectual property?” is more important to understand here.

The real question is whether Intellectual Property is relevant to a business, and if so why? What should they do about it?

I suggest you think of Intellectual Property as something you need to address in your business because it’s the FIRST consideration any business needs to be mindful of when starting up or developing your ideas.

Contrary to popular belief Intellectual Property (“IP”) isn’t just something you deal with once you’ve succeeded and gained traction. Think of IP as risk management and taking advantage of opportunities.

IP is complex, but you don’t need to learn all its ins and outs. Instead, you just need to put in place some processes in your business to manage the risks and to make sure you don’t lose opportunities.

If you don’t cover off intellectual property, you run various risks such as:

  • of not owning the rights to that app or software, or to your website functionality, which your business could have otherwise exploited to generate extra revenues,
  • finding that the name you’re using infringes on someone else’s rights and is a liability rather than the asset it should be.
  • discovering that your invention can’t be patented because you mentioned it on your website,
  • not having rights to the data that was collected on your behalf by someone who is helping you to set up a networking group.
  • not owning the copyright in your own logo so that you can’t easily take action against someone who is misusing your logo.
  • discovering you are liable for infringing copyright in images or content on your website which your web designer is responsible for.

The value in your business in the digital economy lies in such intangibles.  Intellectual property is what you need to address to protect your business.

Find out about the Legally Branded Academy as people’s understanding of what “protection” involves is quite misconceived and gives rise to the typical mistake businesses make when starting new projects

Your brand is one of the most valuable intellectual property assets your business could own. However, you should take the right actions when choosing it as the very choice itself is how you protect the brand and ensure it has a name that’s suited to its business plans.  The name should be chosen in consultation with an expert brand lawyer and should be protected along with other brand elements.

Legally Branded Academy Course

In the revised Legally Branded Academy course that will be launched later this year, I’ve identified more than 15 processes that a business should introduce to manage intellectual property risks and opportunities such as the example scenarios outlined above.

It is an excellent way to train team members in the essentials they need to know about intellectual property, so they don’t unknowingly take actions that infringe on the IP rights of others.

So, for example, one of those processes involves using a specific template before engaging someone to do work for your business. By always following that process you ensure you secure intellectual property rights in assets being created for you, and in doing so you take significant action to protect your business.

The course isn’t about replacing lawyers. It’s about managing an organisation’s risks in those very early stages when people tend to make some drastic mistakes. Those mistakes happen because people wouldn’t even think of consulting a lawyer so early on.

So Legally Branded Academy Revised is a business process and risk management course.

As intellectual property concepts apply pretty much universally the world over, thanks to various important treaties signed between countries, the Legally Branded Academy is relevant no matter which country you’re located in.

If you want to protect your business now would be a good time to invest in Legally Branded Academy as the price is going to double later this year. Buy it now and get access at the more affordable price it’s currently sold for.

When Nothing Works Anymore – How Do You Get Cut Through?  

In a world where there is more and more noise, it can be difficult to be heard. Many of us feel that despite producing awesome content, we’re just not getting through to anyone.

To capture anyone’s attention requires more than good content.

This is a topic I’ve decided to research and study closely so in future posts I’ll be sharing my findings and ideas for distributing our content so as to reach more people. Watch this space.

You’re Not Alone If You Feel That Your Marketing Isn’t Working

You’re in good company if you find that your marketing isn’t working any more.

Mark Schaefer, in his new book, Marketing Rebellion, observes that his Chief Marketing Officer friends who represent some of the biggest names in the business, without exception all feel they are falling behind… on everything

They say things are just not working like they used to.

These are some of the biggest marketing stars at the most famous brands.

They’re experienced, deeply respected executives with some of the biggest companies in the world. They have limitless resources, access to the best people, and premier agency partner relationships. And yet they echoed the same desperate sentiment that many small businesses, and entrepreneurs with little or no budget feel.

Nothing seems to work anymore.

Identifying Your Niche

The book has interesting insights which has sparked off ideas for my marketing. I’ll be sharing some information about that in the future.

For what I’m about to communicate, the part that stood out for me was Schaefer’s suggestion that for your marketing to stand a chance of working, you need to make sure you accurately identify your “place” – what you want to be known for.

He suggests to then define your space – which should be an uncontested niche to tell your story.

Once you’ve done that Schaefer explains how important it is to create effective content to convey your message and build an actionable audience. I’ll be working on these elements over the coming months.

It’s about much more than just generating good content.

Creating More Than Brand Online Course

When I recently created my new online course to help businesses position or reposition their brands, I was able to reposition the Azrights business in the process.

At the time I hadn’t read Schaefer’s book.

My “place” – what I want Azrights and myself to be known for – is branding and trade marks, branding and copyright, branding and intellectual property, as opposed to just trademarks, or copyright or intellectual property legal protection.

Copyright, Trademarks, Intellectual Property

As an intellectual property law firm Azrights is currently positioned to deal with the legal side of branding – trademarking, copyright, and intellectual property. But it hasn’t previously provided branding services. Now, due to our repositioning, it does provide branding services.

So, we’ll be making various changes to the website so that in future it is quite clear to site visitors that Azrights also offers branding.

Drawing on my 15+ years of running a business I am well placed to support businesses with their branding. I have studied marketing mainly because it totally absorbs me as a subject.  I read lots of marketing books, attend many marketing and social media related courses, and so, it’s a subject I feel comfortable helping clients with.

My next book will be on branding.

What Branding Isn’t

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception that branding is all about a logo or visual identity work.

I’ve experienced branding of that type first hand on two occasions, both in my own businesses (twice), and when supporting branding projects helping agencies with name clearance or advising on other aspects of intellectual property.

The first experience I had personally with branding didn’t work out so well because I hadn’t thought through my brand for myself first before approaching designers. The second experience worked mainly because I’d done all the business thinking beforehand for myself.

Branding services combined with IP

The fact that I will be able to combine branding with intellectual property is what brings real value to the niche Azrights will henceforth occupy.

The disciplines of branding and intellectual property are so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Yet intellectual property is not well understood by the branding industry as a whole.

Problems When Branding And IP Are Not Aligned

I see many problems when branding is divorced from intellectual property. The person who loses out when branding and intellectual property are not aligned is the business owner, and often they’re quite unaware that their identity is the root cause of the problem.

When certain issues arise in their business, such as a competitor muscling in on their turf, they don’t realise that the name they’re using is the reason they are vulnerable and unable to fight back to stave off the unfair competition.

Separating the two disciplines doesn’t generally give the best results

Bedding in New Positioning for Azrights

Once this positioning is bedded into the Azrights business and our website, it means Azrights will occupy a unique place.

It will be the first law firm that offers branding services to its clients in addition to intellectual property protection. Azrights will deliver some of the branding services through its sister company Azrights International Ltd.

Reason for Repositioning

When I initially set up Azrights back in 2005, intellectual property law firms were few and far between. So, IP was a good niche positioning for my firm to adopt.

At the time, in 2005, solicitors tended to handle litigious matters, copyright, and IP strategy while patent and trade mark attorney firms dealt with the registration of trade marks, designs, and patents.

I was being different in offering the A to Z of IP services – a full registration and litigation service as well as drafting of legal agreements.

However, this positioning soon looked run of the mill as the division between the two professions began to break down. Patent and trade mark firms soon began offering litigation work, while law firms delved into trade mark registration work.

Dozens of Other IP Firms

So, one reason the IP niche needed to change was this. A few years after Azrights was founded, dozens of intellectual property law firms began sprouting up, virtually overnight. Most of them now handle registration work and while IP was still a specialist subject back in 2005, it’s increasingly ceased to be niche.

The subject is now quite mainstream as non-specialist law firms, such as company commercial lawyers offer intellectual property work, including trade mark registration.

So, I could see the writing on the wall. It was time to make a change to our niche positioning.

The decision to encompass branding within our niche made complete sense from many perspectives.

Why Include Branding Services?

While the traditional path for law firms is to offer the full range of legal services as they expand and grow, the most important consideration for me was my own interests.

I’ve always wanted to do more than just legal work. That’s why I became an in-house lawyer at Reuters. I wanted to be involved in the commercial side of life, to advise on more than just law.

The branding industry currently comprises a plethora of design related companies essentially offering visual design identity work.

Some of them delve into the business side, but essentially the problem they have is that they are running too tight timescales and therefore their clients don’t have all the time they may need in order to properly think through the business issues that arise from the branding exercise.

So, there is a high risk of simply ending up with pretty designs, as I found to my cost after my first branding exercise.

Need for More Education

So, I believe that what is needed is more branding educational providers to help businesses to properly think through their branding before turning to designers for their visual identity work.

The current branding landscape is dominated by designers. And there are many law firms who offer intellectual property services to support branding agencies.

However, none of them is helping businesses with branding support. So, nobody currently occupies the position of offering branding along with trademarks, or branding along with copyright, or branding as well as intellectual property advice and protection – until now.

That is the position Azrights will occupy

As mentioned the two disciplines are intricately intertwined in a way that perhaps branding professionals who do not work with intellectual property law are sufficiently aware.

Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so common to see brand identities based around descriptive names that are incapable of being uniquely owned.  Nor would it be so common to see brands that are unprotected because the branding agency didn’t discuss legal protection when quoting for the work.

Why descriptive names are a problem

Any name may be registered with a logo, and many are. However, that doesn’t give the client any protection over the name if the name is too descriptive to function as a trade mark.

When a name can’t be uniquely owned, the client can experience a number of problems.

Every business must use a name that can function as a trade mark (that is a word mark) because having unique rights to a name is what enables the business to protect its revenues.

It always saddens me when a client comes to us because a “me too” competitor has muscled in on their turf. If the client has a descriptive name then there is little they can do to prevent the competitor stealing their market share.

A passing off action against a competitor who is using the same generic name as you would be throwing good money after bad, although I have seen many law firms take on such cases.

If you can’t uniquely own your brand name then you’re extremely vulnerable.

Branding and Intellectual Property Are Connected

Branding and intellectual property thinking need to go hand in hand. It’s no good creating the brand and then leaving the client to seek out lawyers to help them protect it.

By offering both branding and intellectual property insights, I can help clients in a unique way. Firstly, to identify a suitable niche, then to get their brand strategy and name sorted and once all that is clear, that’s when design services would be appropriate – an area that Azrights has no intention currently to occupy.

I am looking into using designers, developers and social media marketers that belong to reputable bodies who have codes of conduct to protect consumers. Or we may create our own code of conduct as well.

Mistakes people make

I see many mistakes around branding that I myself made when I first set up in business, such as paying far too much for “branding” which ultimately just consisted of some pretty designs.

I didn’t know enough about business at the time, and effectively abdicated responsibility for branding my business to a graphic design agency simply because I didn’t realise that branding was about much more than visual design work.

Much of the thinking about branding needs to come from the business owner, and these things take time. So, new businesses should avoid spending large sums of money on the logo and other designs until they’re clear about their business brand strategy.

Conclusion

It’s essential to have access to a deep understanding of both intellectual property and business when you’re creating or fine-tuning your brand.

Protecting your ideas and IP as you develop your positioning, name, tagline line and business plan is what branding involves. Therefore, these are best dealt with together before seeking help with visual identity work.

This is the new Azrights niche. You’ll find plenty of Intellectual Property law firms and plenty of branding agencies, but nothing that combines branding with trademarks, branding with copyright, or branding with IP. Yet these belong together.

I feel strongly about this subject because it’s important to me to impact, inspire clients and teach clients what is involved to brand themselves so they can make their positive contribution to the world.

I have just launched a new online course called More Than Brand. It will help you get clarity on how to position your business in the market and protect your distinctiveness.

Learn more about More Than Brand Online Course!

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Legally Branded Podcast | What Steps You Need to Take to Protect Idea for an App

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What is the important first step to protecting your idea for an app? What do you need to do before turning to investors for funding? What are some of the factors that will determine your success? Today’s episode highlights all these and more.

Click to Listen to Legally Branded podcast.

Topics discussed:

  • How copyright works to protect an app
  • The limitations of copyright protection
  • The importance of first protecting your idea before turning to investors for funding
  • How to deal with investors and raise investment
  • Factors that affect your chances of success

Key Takeaways:

  • The default rules of copyright mean that the creator of the app will be the owner of the copyright in it rather than the person who pays for the development work.
  • A good development agreement should clearly specify what is to be developed, the phases of the development, the payment plan, and how to resolve any disputes that may arise.
  • Copyright protects the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. This means that if someone sees your app and decides they can do better than you, they can also develop the same idea.


Action Steps:

  • Before you select the right app developer, make sure that they will be happy to give you a copyright of the end product. Reflect this agreement in writing and also have a good development agreement in place.
  • Don’t agree to terms that only give you copyright when the project is concluded and you’ve paid for it.
  • Be mindful about the limitations of copyright protection.
  • Whatever you do, don’t make the fundamental mistake of asking an investor to sign a nondisclosure agreement or confidentiality agreement to hear about your app idea. You need to have taken all the necessary steps to protect your idea before you turn to investors.
  • Focus on developing key qualities such as abilities to lead a team, which is essential for success in business. Reinvent yourself or find the right team to work with.

Shireen said:

“When you have an idea for a new app, bear in mind that innovation alone is no guarantee of success. You need to do thorough research, set your marketing strategy, and really consider how best to develop the app to meet a market need so you can really get going fast with it.”

“Obtaining financing isn’t necessarily about the technical feasibility or the originality of the idea itself. Sometimes it can be more about you as a person and whether you’re aware of the qualities and skill sets needed to convince the right people to support you.”

Thank you for listening!

Asking Google isn’t enough when it comes to protecting your apps and ideas. Sign up for my Legally Branded Academy Course to receive all the guidance you need to protect your intellectual property.

If you liked this podcast or have enjoyed any of the previous episodes, please consider giving me a review. Let me know what you think about today’s episode and feel free to ask me questions. You can reach me on social media via the links below.

Links to my books and online courses:

  • Books:

More from Shireen Smith:

Shireen’s Facebook Page

Shireen’s Twitter

Shireen’s Instagram

Shireen’s LinkedIn

Shireen’s YouTube

Shireen’s Website

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Legally Branded Podcast | I Have an Idea for an App, How to Protect it?

podcast_shireen_smithWhat’s the best way to protect an idea? How do you make sure that your app idea is secure when you’re trying to find the right developer to create it? In this episode, we talk about all the ways you can protect your idea in the early stages of development.

Click to Listen to Legally Branded podcast.

Topics discussed:

    • What you can do to protect your idea during the initial stage of development.
    • Things to remember when choosing the right developer.
    • The importance of having an agreement with the developers that protects you.
  • Ways you can protect your app after it’s developed.

Key Takeaways:

    • Confidentiality is the only way to protect a mere idea. It’s easy to get excited about a new idea and want to share it with others. Keep the idea for your app confidential when discussing it with people and developers.
    • When interviewing a number of developers to find the best one to work on your project, you should have a different idea to discuss with them so you won’t be hampered with needing a non-disclosure agreement to protect your main idea.
  • It’s up to you to make sure that the agreement with the developer protects you. If there is no agreement between you and the developer then the law automatically gives the developer the copyright in the app because they created it.


Action Steps:

    • Develop the habit of being selective about who you reveal your ideas to. Do not discuss your idea with developers right away.
    • Do thorough research on the developers you’re interviewing and make sure you read through their terms of business and legal agreements. Key things to look out for include: Their past experience, client references and testimonials, and how they charge.
  • Make sure that you secure copyright from the developer in writing before you commit to engaging in their services. Otherwise you will not own the copyright in the app.

Shireen said:

“Confidentiality is the only way to protect a mere idea at this stage. If you have an idea for an app, chances are the first thing you’ll want to do is to find someone to develop it for you. I’d advise against discussing the idea with any developers though.”

“Every idea will involve different intellectual property considerations. Some will highlight design protection, you know others may involve a patent protection and yet others will involve copyright. All concepts provide an opportunity to develop a brand.”

Thank you for listening!

Asking Google isn’t enough when it comes to protecting your apps and ideas. Sign up for my Legally Branded Academy Course to receive all the guidance you need to protect your intellectual property.

If you liked this podcast or have enjoyed any of the previous episodes, please consider giving me a review. Let me know what you think about today’s episode and feel free to ask me questions. You can reach me on social media via the links below.

Links to my books and online courses:

  • Books:

More from Shireen Smith:

Shireen’s Facebook Page

Shireen’s Twitter

Shireen’s Instagram

Shireen’s LinkedIn

Shireen’s YouTube

Shireen’s Website

Intellectual Property & Change Management

Intellectual Property Rights and Change Management

Intellectual Property & Change ManagementIn any business there will be rules that management and staff need to follow. Some will be more important than others. For example, to safeguard a company’s intellectual property rights, there are a couple of useful procedures that business might introduce. IP issues arise day to day so it’s important to manage them.

If a business outsources work or collaborates on projects with others it would do well to put systems in place so as to ensure valuable IP is not lost. IP generally needs to be considered very early on.

Consider the inventor of the Karaoke machine. He earned nothing from the billion dollar industry he spawned because he didn’t realise he could take steps to protect his invention so as to reap the benefits if it succeeded. Specifically he could have patented his invention. However, it’s not just patents that can have a far reaching impact. There are other crucial IP rights like copyright which can be lost if you fail to take the right steps early on in a project.

In practice a simple rule requiring particular documents to be used before a company agrees certain terms with a third party makes the difference between protecting your brand or other IP and losing potentially valuable assets. But is that the end of it or is it likely that sometimes your best laid plans will be ignored for one reason or another?

On 13 August Shireen Smith, founder of Azrights Solicitors, an intellectual property law firm, and author of the best selling book, Legally Branded, will be running a webinar to discuss this as part of a new series of webinars looking at law in its ‘real life’ business context. Shireen will be joined by Suzanne Hazelton, author of two books, Raise Your Game, and Great Days at Work. Suzanne is an expert in getting the best from people and processes. She describes herself as a peopleologist as she works with the people in a business from a behavioural perspective. She previously worked on projects such as software beta programmes within IBM, and so has a good understanding of why it is so important to have legal controls in place. At the same time her background gives her a unique insight into the frustrations legal controls can give rise to for people within an organization, and so is ideally placed to advise companies, on how to successfully manage change. During the webinar Suzanne will focus on what a company would want to do in practice, to ensure procedures are observed by staff, particularly in a fast moving, possibly multi-national environment.

The webinar will be relevant to companies, whether based in the UK or elsewhere, as the legal controls being discussed are likely to be universally applicable in most common law jurisdictions, such as the USA, and Australia to name a few. The emphasis will be less on the law, and more on the need for procedures to protect IP. So, the webinar will be relevant regardless of jurisdiction, for any business owner, or corporate in-house lawyer looking for insights into why procedures may be necessary to preserve IP, and what pitfalls they might encounter. It will give you strategies to overcome the challenges ahead.

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IP Solicitor Reveals How Small Businesses are Wasting Money on Branding by Failing to Take Account of Legal Principles – Legally Branded September 11 Book Launch

Legally Branded is a new title by Shireen Smith of Azrights Solicitors, which fills a gap in the market by providing accessible, and easy to understand explanations about intellectual property law and brand law for business owners.

Azrights Solicitors is pleased to announce that pre-publication copies of Legally Branded, are available for review. The general release is on September 11th, with the book currently available for pre-order on AmazonContinue reading