Trade marks are amongst the most valuable assets of a company. Oddly though, few small to medium sized businesses register their trade marks.
Many people also falsely believe that registering their company or domain names means that a trade mark is registered. This is not true. Failing to register a trade mark can appear to be saving money early on, but it really does a disservice to the business.
In the event of a trade mark dispute, proving ownership of an unregistered mark can be very time consuming and expensive, and there is no guarantee of success. At the very worst, a business can find itself involved in litigation, potentially withdrawing products from the market, redesigning packaging and paying damages to another party who was first to register a similar mark. In addition, there is also the possibility of damage to the reputation of the business.
Investing in the development of a strong mark and ensuring that the mark is well protected can help a business survive an economic downturn.
Here are some reasons why a trade mark is an important business asset.
- A strong trade mark helps customers to find you by attracting customers who are loyal to you and your products. Those who want to support your business can find your products easily and your goods are distinguished from those of others in the market, thereby avoiding confusion.
- Registering a trade mark protects your business as it makes it easier to prevent others from using or trying to register a mark similar to yours. A registered trade mark is also very useful against counterfeiters, cyber squatters, and people trying to register abusive or offensive company names.
- Over time, trade marks increase in value. As your business reputation grows, so too does the value of your trade mark. Your trade mark could well be the most valuable asset of your business. Like other property, it can be sold, licensed (like a lease) or used to secure a loan.
It is vital that every business should put in place an effective and proactive trade mark registration strategy. Such a strategy should assist in making sure that business brands are properly protected and should also prevent conflict with other trade mark owners.
Speak to a trade mark attorney for further assistance with developing such a strategy.
This article has been written by Clea Rawlins, an Associate in the Commercial Department of Garlicke & Bousfield Inc
For more information contact Lizette Martins, details below.
NOTE: This information should not be regarded as legal advice and is merely provided for information purposes on various aspects of intellectual property law.