Legal Clearance Checks – 5 Reasons for Never Launching Without One

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 info@thebigideaslegalcompany.com to schedule your clearance check today.

Is your new brand name available?

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.

Why registering your name with Companies House is not the same as registering a trade mark…..

Many new businesses are aware that Companies House is the place to go in order to register their new company name.  Unfortunately many believe that will also prevent competitors from using their name but sadly this is not necessarily the case.

When you apply to register a new name at Companies House, they will only check to see whether an identical name to yours has already been registered with them.  If not, and provided it’s not offensive, then it should be registered.

This is not however the case with trade marks.  If you file a trade mark then anyone with an existing (prior) trade mark which is not only identical but also ‘confusingly similar’ to yours, may seek to oppose your application.  In a worse case scenario they could not only prevent you getting a trade mark registered but also prevent you trading under your chosen name which could mean hundreds of pounds in wasted start up fees.

The best way to help reduce this risk is to instruct a trade mark lawyer to carry out a Clearance Check prior to registering your new name either at Companies House or by filing it as a trade mark.  They should be able to highlight any potential pitfalls up front and therefore give you the opportunity of changing or tweaking your name/brand before it’s too late.

We have had many years’ experience of carrying out Clearance Checks for clients across all business sectors. If you would like to arrange a free consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you, please let us know.