Why register your company name, brand or logo as a trademark

Have you thought about the benefits a trademark could bring for your business? A trademark can be a critical component during the initial set up of your company. In this guide, we’re going to show you what they are used for and how you can apply for your own trademark.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is used to identify the products or services of a particular business. You need to protect your business to ensure that others can’t use it to sell their own product or services. If you don’t register your trademark someone else can and probably will. That puts your company at a greater level of risk. You can take control of your trademark by registering it and prevent this from happening. You can also avoid running into further problems down the road.

For instance, without a registered trademark (®), you might struggle to qualify the value of your company. You will also gain legal protection. You can take action against parties who are using trademarks that conflict with yours or that could potentially damage your business or brand.

In addition to all this, a registered trademark actually adds value to a company or brand.

What are the differences between registered trademarks, trademarks and copyright?

Registered trademarks (®) differ from trademarks (™) and copyright (©) in several key ways. Specifically, © or copyright is used to protect different types of assets. Copyright is usually based on protecting artistic or literary pieces of work. This could include both videos and books. In contrast, a trademark will be used to protect items that are part of defining a business brand – their logomark for example. A registered trademark or ® is a trademark which has been assessed, registered and granted by an IPO (Intellectual Property Office). Usually, a company will use both of these forms of protection. For instance, a publishing company would trademark their name or logo and copyright any books or videos that were created by them.

Alternatively, in America, a ™ symbol can be used to signify common law rights in a trademark pursuant.

Key reasons you should secure a registered trademark

There are numerous benefits of securing a registered trademark. For instance, they appreciate over time, particularly as a company expands. It increases the value of the company when it’s time to sell. We will discuss this in greater depth later in this article. It can also help ensure that your business is able to grow in new directions or even different sectors and industries. A trademark will also ensure that your business appears more credible to everyone from investors to consumers, and studies have even suggested it can increase trust in a brand. Furthermore, a trademark will protect you from another company using your business name, and we’ll illustrate this in greater detail shortly. This can be a common issue in various industries and sectors, leading to consumer confusion in the market.

Registering a trademark

You can register a trademark with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK. To do this, you first need to check if you can register your trademark. You must use the trademark register to search for any similar or even identical trademarks that exist for the same goods or services that you sell. If there are no issues here, you can move forward and classify the goods and services of your trademark.

Once the application is complete, you will be provided with feedback in between five to fifteen days. Assuming there are no issues your application will be published in the trademarks journal for two months. This can be extended to three months and before your trademark is registered, third party observations can be made by anyone.

If there is opposition to your trademark, you will be contacted quickly to resolve the issue. If there are no oppositions or oppositions that have been handled effectively, your trademark will be registered about two weeks after the opposition period ends. You will need to pay renewal fees every ten years.

Your trademark must be:

  • A ‘sign capable of being represented graphically’
  • Able to ‘distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from another’
  • Be unlikely to confuse consumers purchasing products and services due to similarities with other trademarks.

 

Other IP offices

In the UK, companies must register their trademark with the Intellectual Property Office. However, there are intellectual property offices for every region of the world. For instance, many countries have a separate industrial property office as well as a copyright office. In the United Arab Emirates, there is the Copyright Department Ministry of Economy and the International Centre for Patent Registration Ministry of Economy. The United States has the Library of Congress Copyright Office, the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Patent and trademark Office (USPTO).

 

The true value of a brand

“We define company value as the worth of a business. You can think of company value as how much it would cost to purchase the business, or a company’s selling price.”

– study.com, Business Valuation: Calculating the Value of a Company.

 

There are fundamentally three ways to determine the value of a business:

  1. The asset approach, which calculates all the assets and liabilities
  2. The market approach, which values a business in relation to its market or in the case of IPOs, the stock market
  3. The income approach, which uses the annual income and overall profit

 

These three approaches don’t entirely account for two intangible factors: brand value and brand equity. We have to be careful here to define the difference between brand value and brand equity. Brand equity relates to relevance and perceived importance in a consumer’s mind, while brand value it’s purely measured in financial terms.

 

“Brand equity refers to the importance of a brand in the customer’s eyes, while brand value is the financial significance the brand carries. Both brand equity and brand value are educated estimates of how much a brand is worth”

– David Aaker, Vice Chairperson, Prophet.

Apple’s Trademark value:

$29.5 billion*

*Forbes Magazine, 2011.

“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola (Brand Equity), the company would go out of business.”

Design Council, Coca Cola Executive.

 

Monchü’s (registered) trademark in action

Trademarks are beneficial in every industry. Quite early on our business, Monchü successfully applied for, and was granted a Registered Trademark. Some would say that the ™ symbol stands for Totally Meaningless, which is true in some regards as it doesn’t carry any legal bearing. However, a registered trademark in contrast, the ® symbol does. In fact, it is an offence to use this mark unless you have been granted permission from the UKIPO. That means it is protected under UK Trademarks Act and because it denotes legal ownership of the name, logo, or phrase, anyone trying to use it can be sued for trademark infringement.

Some years ago, another company registered and began trading in the creative sector under the name Monchu. We first became aware of this when we discovered their work on a popular social network. Armed with the certificate of registration from the UKIPO, along with the company registration document, we were able to encourage the other company to cease trading under our registered name. We did this without the incursion of additional expenses or unnecessary (and expensive) litigation. The trademark application cost us around than £200, an investment we now know to be well worth it.

If you’re interested in talking to us about copyrights, trademarking or registering a trademark, we’d love to help from you. Contact us to make an appointment for a free 30 minute consultation or simply fill out the form below with some information and we’ll call you back.