If you have an established business or your business is going through a period of rapid growth, now is an ideal time to take stock of what intellectual property you have in your company and whether it is protected. If you don’t, you could find your business plans seriously hindered. For example, you may not be able to start selling overseas due to another company already owning the rights in your name and if you were to proceed regardless, then you could have to pay them compensation for infringing their rights.
In addition to our various Brand Protection Packages we also offer a full range of bespoke services for companies such as yours as set out below. Each one can be tailored to your specific needs as required:
- Comprehensive IP Audit
- International Trade Mark Protection
- Trade Mark Portfolio Management
- Trade Mark Watching Service
- Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution / Litigation
- Preparation for Sale or Outside Investment
Comprehensive IP Audit
This is ideal if your company has experienced a period of fairly rapid growth and your intellectual property rights have either not been protected at all, or have been dealt with ad hoc as and when time has allowed. Since you filed any initial UK trade marks you may have started to sell or manufacture your products overseas but have not taken steps to protect your brand in the new countries in which you are trading. Alternatively the scope of your existing trade marks may not be wide enough to cover all the products you are now selling.
Our Comprehensive IP Audit includes the following:
- the design of a detailed questionnaire tailored to your business in order to ascertain the current level of intellectual property protection and define the scope of the audit.
- a combination of face to face meetings and follow up conversations so that we get to know your business together with any expansion plans so that we can ensure that all the intellectual property rights you have built up in your business are protected, both now and into the future.
- a comprehensive report tailor-made to your company highlighting any areas in which your business is currently exposed and making recommendations for future action such as the filing of further trade marks in the UK or overseas, and/or advice on the use of your current trade marks to ensure they don’t become diluted over time and therefore difficult to enforce.
- a follow up meeting at your offices or over the telephone (as you prefer) to discuss the findings, conclusions and recommendations outlined in the audit report and to answer any of your questions. We can also agree on which recommendations you would like to be carried out and approximate timescales.
Due to the bespoke nature of this service, the work required will vary widely between companies and it is not therefore possible to offer this service at a fixed fee. However, we will always provide a detailed estimate and fees breakdown before any work is commenced and will keep you updated at each stage of the audit process.
International Trade Mark Protection
Do you have plans to start trading overseas or perhaps you are doing so already but without taking any steps to protect your brand? Without trade mark protection in the countries in which you not only trade but also manufacture your products, you could be exposing your company to considerable risk. If you were to launch in a country in which you have not protected your brand, you risk another company already owning the same or similar name as you. If this is the case they could take steps to not only stop you from trading under your name but also demand compensation for infringing their rights.
If you manufacture your products overseas without a trade mark you are not only exposing yourself to the risk that you will be unable to use your name there but also that the local Customs could stop you from exporting products from that country without proof that you own the rights to the trade mark. A number of our clients have experienced precisely this issue when trying to export their products from countries such as China and Taiwan.
We have built up close links with a network of trade mark attorneys based around the world who are able to assist us with filing and protecting your brand in whichever territories you require. We are also able to file European and International trade marks on your behalf to ensure that you are protected, wherever you operate.
Trade Mark Portfolio Management
Managing a trade mark portfolio is a complex and time-consuming activity and without the involvement of a trade mark expert, important deadlines may be missed and decisions taken which may not be in your company’s best interests long term. We can take this task off your hands, giving you the reassurance you need that some of your most valuable assets are in safe hands, whilst freeing up your time to run your business.
We use WebTMS®, a very advanced trade mark portfolio management system which is used by law firms and Fortune 500 companies all over the world. It enables us to not only keep track of your trade mark portfolio, but it also has a highly sophisticated reporting system allowing us to produce a full range of reports indicating the status of your various trade marks at any time.
Trade Mark Watching Service
Once you have trade mark registrations in all the countries of interest to you, it is vital that you take steps to enforce them. The most effective way of achieving this is through a Trade Mark Watching Service whereby your key brands are monitored by a third party who report to us if any of your competitors should take steps to file the same or a similar name as you. This provides you with valuable early warning of competitors’ plans and if required, means that we can take action to oppose their trade mark application before the launch stage when it is much harder to stop.
Intellectual Property Dispute resolution / Litigation
Unfortunately, despite every effort to avoid them, intellectual property disputes can happen and when they do, legal fees can escalate quickly.
We have extensive intellectual property litigation experience and are able to handle complex matters if required. Wherever possible, we will help you to resolve your dispute without needing to resort to costly litigation.
Our fees are extremely competitive compared with most ‘traditional’ law firms and we will keep you up to date throughout the process providing detailed fee breakdowns at each stage.
Preparation For Sale Or Outside Investment
If you have any plans to sell your company or are planning to apply for outside investment, it is vital that your intellectual property rights are protected beforehand for a number of reasons:
- as anyone who has watched the BBC’s The Dragons’ Den will know, registered trade marks and other intellectual property rights can substantially increase the sale price or investment value of your business.
- the new owner or investor can take comfort from the fact that all relevant steps have been taken to protect your company’s brand name and logos so that they can take legal action against anyone copying them in the future if required.
- the new owner or investor will need reassurance that you are not infringing anyone else’s rights which we can ascertain through the conducting of a series of Legal Clearance Checks.