New for 2015 – Brand Protection Packages

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.

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.

How safe is your brand in 2014?

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 info@thebigideaslegalcompany.com.

Are you a fan of Dragons’ Den?

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!

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.

Are you making your intellectual property work for you?

The Times newspaper today contained a very interesting Raconteur special report focussing on intellectual property (IP) issues and their impact on the success of British businesses.

10% of the UK economy is made up of so-called intangible assets (ie. intellectual property like trade marks, patents, copyright and design rights), yet still very few businesses seem to be exploiting or protecting their value.

SMEs in particular are often guilty of delaying or ignoring the need to protect their IP.  It is however vital that steps are taken to protect new innovations from the start of their life cycle, before others take advantage of them.

Furthermore, when it comes to seeking outside investment, it is crucial that businesses can demonstrate a robust IP portfolio.

A key recommendation from the report was a 3 stage process that every business, whatever their size and budget, should go through when it comes to intellectual property rights:

(1)   Identification – every business will own some intellectual property assets.  The key is identifying what they are.

(2)   Protection – once a business’ IP assets have been identified, the next task is to take steps to protect them.  Assets like trade marks and patents require registration through the appropriate body.

(3)   Revenue maximisation – once you are satisfied that your business’ key IP assets have been protected, you should consider whether you are maximising their potential as a revenue stream.  This includes developing an IP strategy: perhaps licensing your IP assets to others in return for a royalty or selling aspects of your IP portfolio which are no longer required.

The bottom line is that to succeed in today’s challenging economic environment, it is crucial to maximise and make the most of all your business’ assets, tangible or otherwise.

An online version of the Raconteur report can be viewed at www.theraconteur.co.uk.

Free IP app launched for small businesses

The UK Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) has this month launched an IP app designed specifically to help small business owners to better understand and make use of their intellectual property rights.

The app (named “IP for Small Business”) has been developed in collaboration with Swansea University and Intellectual Property (IP) Wales and should provide a valuable resource to any SMEs currently struggling to understand what rights are available to them.

The app gives a good overview of all the various intellectual property rights and explains in clear terms how business owners can use them to their best advantage.

Understanding what IP issues need to be considered and when can be critical to a business’ success but frequently, such issues are overlooked as an unnecessary expense. Even when such issues are considered, businesses are confronted by a bewildering array of concepts from copyright, to patents, designs and trade marks.

Any help to make this complex, yet critical, aspect of running a business easier should therefore be welcomed.

If you would like to find out more details about the content and how to download this new IP app please go to the IPO website: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/whyuse/business/business-support/business-ipapp.htm.