A strong, recognizable brand is a valuable asset to any business, and therefore necessarily requires intellectual property protection. The financial impacts of brand abuse are incalculable and in the digital age it has become more important than ever for business to safeguard their investments in their brand with a strategic approach. A reputable business lawyer can guide you through the multi-faceted process of complete brand protection, navigating you through brand and IP management, trademark registration, trademark enforcement, branding rights, sponsorships and licensing.
1. Register trade marks
A trade mark is a way of legally protecting the aspects that make your brand unique including combinations of:
- or any other combination that distinguishes your product from others.
When registered as a trade mark, you will have exclusive rights to commercially use or license the words, logos or otherwise that fall under the registered trade mark. It is therefore considered as valuable marketing tool, protecting your brand from imitation and leaving your brand easily recognizable and distinguished from others. Trade marks can be registered online, however it is best to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer to ensure your application has the best chance of success in registration.
2. Utilize registered designs
The unique visual appearance of a product sets it aside from the similar products of competitors. Therefore, an important aspect of brand protection is registering the design of your product to prevent competitors from imitating its unique aspects and damaging the visibility of your unique brand. All products with a commercial or industrial use can be registered, however the visual appearance must be distinctive and new, and includes all aspects such as shape and pattern.
3. Register patents
If your brand includes a device, method or substance which is new and inventive, a patent is the best way to protect it from use by competitors. A patent gives you the exclusive and legally enforceable right to use and market your invention as part of your unique brand.
4. Register business and domain names
In the digital age, a comprehensive branding strategy includes protection of trademarks, domain names, brand names and social media and other online accounts. Registering a business name and an online domain name is a cornerstone for brand building, however it is important to note that registration alone does not give you exclusive rights to use that name as part of a brand. For full protection, all business and domain names must undergo professional trademark clearances searches.
5. Make consistent use of your brand
One of the most important ways to build a strong and importantly, legally enforceable brand is to make consistent use of the unique and legally protected aspects of your brand. Inconsistent use, small modifications to design and intellectual property registrations completed by various different people under the one company, leaves your brand vulnerable.
6. Document your intellectual property strategy
It is important to ensure that your brand portfolio is carefully documented to ensure that you are aware of registration and renewal dates of your trademarks, domain names and business names. This ensures that all aspects of your brand, including later introduced aspects are protected. It is also important to remain vigilant in protecting your brand, this includes keeping an eye on the marketing of your competitors to ensure there is no unauthorized use of your intellectual property.
A complete brand protection strategy will be unique for each business, and may involve some or all of these actionable solutions. To ensure the protection of your brand, it is important to remain in regular consultation with an experienced lawyer, to ensure that your protection strategy is strong and legally enforceable for all aspects of your brand.
Laura Costello is in her third year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex legal topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.