Protecting your Brand
A brand is more than your company’s logo and the colours it uses in various print and online media. Good branding creates a connection between your and businesses and your customers, and can provide your team members with direction and motivation. Whether they’re aware or not, every company has a brand, even those that may not really have given it any particular consideration – even the choice of font on some quite simple sign-writing becomes the brand.
Once you’ve spent time, effort, and money on developing your brand, there are steps you should take to ensure that it remains yours, some of which a very straightforward.
The best-value way to start protecting your brand is to use it, be that on stationery, web site, social media, vehicles, and so on. This helps to make the broader public aware of your identity, and thus start to associate it with your business. Brand awareness can contribute to determining your legal right over the brand should you address and infringement.
Trademarking your brand assets may at first seem like a complex process that feels like overkill. However, applying for and obtaining a trademark gives you the monopoly to use your logo, tagline, and even colours and sounds. Registering a trademark can take a few months, as research must be carried out to ensure that the assets you wish to trademark are not already trademarked by another party. The UK Government Intellectual Property Office is a good starting point, providing an overview of what you can and cannot trademark, as well as facilities to help you search the trademark register before you start the process.
There are services which automatically monitor the trademarks registry, notifying you if an application is made for the same or similar-sounding marks. Search engines are also a useful resource when monitoring for infringements, with some offering real-time keyword alerts.
In the event that it does become apparent that there’s been an infringement on your brand it’s important to respond as quickly as possible. This could be as simple as contacting the infringer, stating your claim over the brand, with the intention of having the issue resolved quickly and painlessly. However, if the other party is reluctant to change direction, legal recourse options are available.
To discuss how Aughton Ainsworth can assist with your brand protection challenges, please contact Andy Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or John McMuldroch at email@example.com.
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