Trademarks are a type of intellectual property commonly used to protect elements of a business’s branding, such as its name and logo. A trademark differentiates your business’s goods and services from those of a competitor and is a hugely valuable asset. Strict legal rules apply to the registration, maintenance and enforcement of trademarks. It is, therefore, imperative to take trademark legal advice to ensure your brand is fully protected and can be effectively commercialised.
When Should You Take Trademark Legal Advice?
Trademark advice in the UK applies to a vast array of issues, from the early stages of brand development through to commercialising your brand and protecting it from third parties using it without permission, known as ‘infringement’.
Examples of the type of issues which require trademark law advice include–
Developing Your Brand
The success of a business hinges on brand recognition. Hugely successful brands such as Apple and Nike spend millions on developing a cohesive brand identity which permeates every aspect of their business, from the products to packaging, marketing campaigns, shop fronts and signage.
A well-known brand inspires consumer confidence, encourages loyalty and ultimately drives sales. In the early stages of brand development, it is crucial to take trademark advice to ensure your proposed branding is capable of protection as a trademark and will not infringe any third-party rights. It can be catastrophic for a business to expend significant time and money developing a brand, only to discover that it cannot be protected as a trademark and so is vulnerable to copycats or, worse still, infringes an earlier trademark so cannot be used.
Protecting Your Brand
Once you are satisfied that your proposed branding is lawful and capable of protection, you need to take steps to obtain the relevant trademark registrations. Trademark protection is territorial, and you must ensure that your brand is protected not only in the UK but in all the countries you intend to trade in. Professionals providing trademark advice in the UK will assist you in identifying the relevant territories, and then seek the appropriate registrations on your behalf.
A proposed trademark must meet various criteria to be eligible for protection. Primarily, it must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of your competitors. A trademark application needs to be very carefully drafted to maximise its chances of registration and to ensure that the protection sought aligns with your business needs.
Commercialising Your Brand
Despite being intangible, trademarks are powerful rights of enormous commercial value. A trademark owner has the right to use the mark and branding in connection with the relevant goods and services, to the exclusion of everybody else. This presents significant opportunities for a business. Trademarks can be dealt with in the same way as tangible property and a trademark owner can sell the mark, licence it or even use it as security against a mortgage.
Trademark legal advice will enable the effective commercialisation of your trademarks and brand. It is far easier to commercialise a well-maintained trademark portfolio than a hotchpotch of unregistered rights or poorly drafted registrations. High-quality trademark advice from the outset will guarantee you have the appropriate registrations in place, allowing you to monetise your brand effectively.
Enforcing Your Brand
Sadly, many successful brands encounter issues with copycats seeking to cash in by impersonating the brand to sell their own goods or services. This impersonation can have severe consequences. It erodes consumer trust, leads to brand dilution and negatively impacts sales.
A trademark is one of the most effective tools in a brand’s armoury for tackling brand impersonation. By taking trademark law advice and ensuring you have the appropriate registrations in place, you can take legal action for trademark infringement against third-party copycats. If your claim is successful, the Court will usually order the third party to cease their infringing action and award monetary damages. Most trademark cases do not reach Court, however, with the parties often settling on terms which mirror those that would be awarded by the Court.
Trademark Advice In The UK
The importance of adequate brand protection cannot be overstated. It is crucial to seek trademark law advice from a legal professional experienced in trademark practice to ensure your brand and business are fully protected. A well-managed trademark portfolio will enable you to develop and commercialise your brand and provides a straightforward way of dealing with any infringement by third-party copycats.
Trade Mark Solicitors Near Me