It’s a common misconception that only ‘big’ companies own trade marks and that unless you are the likes of Coca-Cola or Apple, there is just no point trying to protect your brand name or logo in this way.
BUT consider how you would feel if another company started trading under the same name as you? How upset would you be if your potential customers bought products or services from them instead of buying from you?
Without a trade mark registration it could be very difficult to stop someone else from using your brand name or logo which could be hugely detrimental to your business.
At The Big Ideas Legal Company we are passionate about protecting the hard work you have put into growing your brand, regardless of the size of your company.
We have therefore launched a series of highly cost-effective Brand Protection Packages so that even on a tight budget, you can protect the hard work you have invested in your brand. Click here to find out more details of our various Packages and if you have any questions, please get in touch.
There is a common presumption that images appearing on the internet are a ‘free for all’ and therefore can be copied and pasted at will in order to brighten up your website, recent blog post or marketing materials.
But did you know that all images, whether indicated as such or otherwise, will contain copyright and if you are not the copyright owner or have the permission of such owner, then using the image in question could have potentially costly consequences?
The copyright owner of a photograph for example will generally be the freelance photographer who took the image in question, the only exception being if they took it as part of their role as employee, in which case the copyright will be owned by their employer.
If you use the image without the owner’s prior permission therefore they could legitimately ask you to pay them compensation for infringing their rights. Some photographers entrust their rights to organisations such as Getty Images who licence out the images on their behalf in exchange for the payment of a one-off licence fee. Be aware though that such organisations are generally very committed to policing the use of the images entrusted to them – clients of mine have been sent letters requesting thousands of pounds in compensation for using their images without having paid the appropriate licence fee.
So the moral of the story is this, think carefully before using any images you find on the internet and if in doubt, it’s probably best not to use them!
If you are concerned about the images you are using on your website and want to ensure you own all the correct rights please get in touch by either emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07551 585783.
I thought it would be useful to share with you some information about the free services offered by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
If you are not already familiar with them, the IPO is the official government body responsible for granting intellectual property (IP) rights to businesses in the UK including trade marks, patents, design rights and also copyright.
Throughout the year they run a whole host of free seminars, workshops and other events with the aim of helping businesses to understand the benefits of protecting their IP rights and to maximise their value as assets.
So if IP is still a mystery to you and you want to find out more then take a look at their list of events to see what’s coming up in your area soon.
And if you can’t get to any of their events then check out their IP Equip App which features some great case studies from business people explaining how protecting their IP has helped their businesses to succeed.
If you would like to arrange a free consultation to discuss protecting any aspect of your business’ IP then please call us on 07551 585783 or email email@example.com.
A question I am asked time and time again is what exactly can be protected as a trade mark? This month therefore I thought it would be useful to give you some well known live examples of what can be protected and some of the items may well surprise you!
A trade mark is essentially a means of distinguishing one trader and his/her products from those of other traders but what does this actually MEAN in practice?
Here is a list of just some of the different types of marks that have been registered to date:
- Words (eg. COCA COLA, KODAK)
- Slogans (eg. JUST DO IT for Nike sportswear)
- Letters (eg. RBS for banking services)
- Domain names (eg. amazon.com)
- Numerals (eg. 501 jeans)
- Shapes (eg. the triangular shape of a Toblerone chocolate bar)
- Colours (eg. registration by Heinz of the colour turquoise for baked beans)
- Sounds (eg. Intel’s 4 note musical jingle)
- Smells (eg. “a floral fragrance of roses as applied to tyres” registered by Sumitomo Rubber Industries)
So take a look again at what you are using in your business as there may be more to protect than you first thought!
If you would like to arrange a FREE consultation to discuss protecting any aspect of your company branding then please call us on 07551 585783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in the process of choosing a new brand name, product name or strapline, make sure you factor in a legal clearance check BEFORE you launch.
Without one, you are leaving your company exposed to potentially costly consequences.
Whereas in the past, a company trading under a name in Surrey for example was unlikely to become aware of another company trading under the same name in Yorkshire, this is not so now that almost all businesses have some form of internet presence.
This makes it MUCH easier for other companies to notice if you are using their name….with potentially devastating effects on your business.
Here are 5 reasons why a legal clearance check should always form part of your pre-launch checklist:
- Earlier Trade Marks. A legal clearance check is the ONLY way to determine whether your chosen name is free to use and will not be infringing someone else’s earlier registered trade mark(s).
- Legal Action. If you use the same or even just a SIMILAR name to someone else’s registered trade mark in relation to the same/similar products or services, they may decide to take legal action against you. This could result in you not only having to stop using your name, but also having to pay compensation for infringing their rights. This could be a huge expense compared to the modest cost of carrying out a legal clearance check.
- Re-Branding Costs. Clearance checks are a small expense compared with the cost of re-branding if you discover that that your name is not available. If the results of the check are negative you can change your name BEFORE you incur stationery, packaging and marketing costs which may otherwise be wasted.
- Effect on your Business. Aside from the costs involved with re-branding, if you find your name is not available after you have begun trading it may have a detrimental effect on your business. If you have to cease trading under your existing name you could lose customers used to searching for you under a particular name. Let alone all the time and energy that you would have to divert from your usual business activities to carry out the re-branding exercise.
- Trade Mark Potential. A legal clearance check will also give you a good idea of whether your chosen name could be registered as a trade mark in the countries in which you are trading. A registered trade mark is a useful asset which can not only help you to prevent others using your name, but it may also be sold, assigned, licensed or franchised for considerable value in the future.
The Big Ideas Legal Company has a proven track record of many years’ experience of carrying out legal clearance checks for clients of all shapes and sizes across many different business sectors.
Contact us on 07551 585783 or email@example.com to schedule your clearance check today.
Hello and Happy New Year!
So what are your New Year’s Resolutions?
One of the questions I am asked time and time again is if I have already registered my name with Companies House, then is my name protected from copying by others? Unfortunately this is NOT necessarily the case and you can find out why here.
Without a doubt, the best way to protect your brand name or logo is by registering it as a trade mark. If you want to find out more about why you should take this crucial step to protect your name and business click here.
So, if you make one New Year’s Resolution in 2014…then make sure it’s to protect the result of all your hard work, namely your brand.
If you would like to arrange a FREE consultation to discuss protecting your brand then please call us on 07551 585783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was delighted to hear that The Big Ideas Legal Company has just been featured in The Guardian’s Small Business Showcase which, if you have not yet come across it, is a fantastic resource for small businesses of all types.
Click here to see the full article – http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/oct/29/showcase-home-business-the-big-ideas-legal-company
Perhaps homeworking could be for you too?
If, like me, you have been glued to the latest BBC series of Dragons’ Den, you may be interested to know that staff members at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) have a blog devoted to it.
After every episode, they have been commenting on any intellectual property issues spotted whether they relate to trade marks, copyright, patents or design rights.
So, if you think any of the issues featured could be useful to your business then check out the blog featured on the IPO website – http://www.ipo.gov.uk/dd2013.htm.
And good luck to anyone out there considering applying to go on the show!
The use of a good brand name can literally make or break your business but have you checked to see whether someone else is using it in your industry already?
Most businesses will spend some time brainstorming a new brand name and researching their target market to assess its likely success. Your name is the first thing a customer sees or uses to contact your company and often determines their attitude towards your business or products, so it is important to get it right from the outset.
But what many businesses fail to do is to ascertain the trade mark implications of adopting a particular name, which could prove very costly. If another company has already registered the same, or even just a similar name to yours for the same or similar products or services, they could prevent you from using your chosen brand name. This could potentially cost thousands of pounds in re-branding if you have to re-print stationery, packaging or change your website domain name. In a worst-case scenario, you could have to pay compensation for using someone else’s trade mark.
Even if you are a start-up with limited resources, it is always advisable to instruct a trade mark professional to carry out a search of the trade mark registers in the countries that you plan to trade in. They can highlight any obstacles and make suggestions as to how to overcome them. Furthermore, if you decide to protect your brand name by filing a trade mark, the Trade Marks Registry does not refund fees even if your trade mark is unsuccessful so it therefore makes financial sense to conduct a search before submitting an application.
the big ideas legal company has had many years’ experience of conducting affordable trade mark searches for clients across all business sectors and in many countries worldwide. If you would like us to check to see whether your chosen name is available then please get in touch.
Regardless of the size of your business, and however big you become, your company name and brand will be one of your most valuable assets.
Your name and brand represents your business. You spend a lot of time and money designing your name and logo, building goodwill with your customers and suppliers, but…
- Have you started to trade using a name or brand identity that is the same or similar to someone else?
- What if someone else starts to trade using a similar name?
- What if you want to franchise or sell your business in the future – how can you secure the most value from your brand?
You need to protect your investment and put yourself in the best position to leverage its value.
The most effective way to protect your name or brand is to register it as a trade mark. This:
- helps you to confirm the uniqueness of your name/brand;
- makes it much easier to stop someone copying or trading off your name/brand;
- allows you to use the ® logo which acts as a deterrent to third parties; and
- will make it easier to sell, franchise or license when your business achieves its full potential.
We can help you by:
- filing trade marks on your behalf in the UK, Europe and Internationally depending on the size of your business.
- providing “clearance checks” to see whether your chosen name is available before you go ahead with a new launch which could save you the cost of re-branding if your name has already been taken.
- advising on how to design your name/brand to best secure a trade mark registration.
- helping deal with disputes and challenges to your trade mark and/or name/brand.
If you would like to arrange a free initial discussion on any aspect of registering your trade mark then please contact us.