Trade Mark Protection – Why Bother?

14 Jul 2015
“Why bother?” is a valid question, especially in light of the cost of trade mark protection and the fact that some businesses seem to manage to trade successfully without bothering to protect their trade mark rights.

It’s a question raised most often by start-ups or small businesses, so here’s our list of reasons:-

Exclusivity


Registration provides you with an exclusive right to use the registered mark in the relevant territory for the goods/services covered by the registration. Nothing else gives you that exclusivity or degree of control over your brand.

Enforcement


It gives you power to prevent others using the same or similar mark for the goods or services covered by your registration. Trying to do so without a trade mark registration is immeasurably harder and far more expensive, so registration could even save you money in the end.

Perception


Registration shows that you take your trade mark seriously and that you have diligently protected it. All leading businesses treat their trade marks as key assets and protect them appropriately. You should ensure your business is seen in the same light.

Value on Sale


If you ever look to sell or merge your business, potential partners or purchsers will look for trade registration(s) as part of their due diligence inquiries. If you haven’t registered your trade marks, it may impact on whether the transaction takes place at all or may affect the price anyone is prepared to pay for your business.

Cost Effectiveness


The initial filing fees may seem high but they are legitimate and deductible business costs. In the UK and the EU Community, trade mark registrations stay in place for 10 years. Looked at over that timescale, the costs are very reasonable. Registered Symbol - Registration enables you to legitimately use the ® symbol, placing the world on notice of your trade mark rights and registration. Used by all businesses of significance.

It’s true that some businesses manage to trade for a while without registering their trade mark. Some do get lucky but in an age where infringement is on the increase, especially online infringements, most businesses are going to have to tackle the issue of infringement sooner or later. It’s better to prepare for that than to have it land on you without warning. Think of it as insurance for your brand.