Reputation is everything.
In an age of choice, where we buy products and services over the Internet from people we’ve never met, and businesses we’ve never visited, reputation builds trust and confidence.
How much time and hard work has your company dedicated to building and protecting its reputation?
It’s likely a lot, and you no doubt continue to invest time and money in ways to differentiate your business from the competition.
All the work your business has done in delivering quality goods and/or excellent services in a unique and recognisable package is invested in its Trademark.
But has your business protected its right to use its own name? Does it even own it?
Here are 8 reasons why you should take steps to register your company’s Trademark:
1. The rules of trademark registration are relatively simple.
There are 45 different classes of Trademark, one for every conceivable commercial activity. Your company’s commercial activity may fall into one or several categories.
If your existing mark isn’t too descriptive or isn’t already being used by someone else in your business category and isn’t immoral – then it is probably registrable.
If it is too descriptive or it is registered to someone else then it’s best you know now before you decide how much more to invest in it.
2. The process is cheap and can offer a huge commercial area for protection.
The cost of registering a UK mark is around £1,800 including registration fees and £2,500 for a European Mark. Once registered you own the right to use the name throughout that geographical area where it’s registered whether or not your trade has yet extended to that destination. The name is yours and you can expand in confidence.
3. It acts as a deterrent to stop people choosing your name or a similar name.
In a world where names are often abbreviated to letters (for example the writer’s firm is ORJ) the likelihood of companies in similar fields exploiting the same abbreviation is increased. If your company already owns the Trademark it will obviously deter others from using the same or a very similar name.
4. It gives you a monopoly right in the area of registration and confidence to expand over a period.
Being the proprietor of a registered Trademark gives you the exclusive right to use the name in that Territory; i.e. the UK or Europe. It gives you time and confidence to expand. We have acted for a number of businesses adversely affected when expanding their business into a new European country only to find an existing business with the same or very similar name. The same risk can apply in reverse. Having a broad registration gives you confidence and time to expand.
5. Enforcement of a registered Trademark has certainty; cases to protect unregistered names are much more problematic.
Enforcement of claims for breaches of registered Trademark have great certainty. Very often the infringer backs down immediately and if not firms like ORJ are likely to offer no win no fee terms if legal action is needed.
The rules which allow companies to protect their name and reputation, even where they don’t own a registered Trademark are much more difficult and are very fact based. The aggrieved business must prove the extent of their reputation, confusion in the minds of purchasers and damage.
If you do business in London exclusively at present, don’t try and stop a company in the North of England building a business in that territory with your name! Further such an eventuality could lead to problems for you registering a Trademark later – What if they beat you to it?
6. Registration gives you more time to take action.
Businesses that use competing marks can often have long running disputes about who acquired reputation in the mark first. A business which came to use an unregistered mark second but which has used it for a long time can often not be prevented from using it permanently. Proprietors of registered Trademarks have five years to take action no matter what the investment made by the competing business in the name over that period.
7. It adds to the value of your business.
Many business proprietors have in mind a day when they may sell their business. Most often the buyer will be anxious to retain the custom of the seller. Having a registered Trademark increases the likelihood of this in the minds of a buyer and will therefore add certainty to the transaction and to the value to of your business.
8. Registration may help prevent internet abuse.
There is presently ongoing a very substantial commercial dispute between two of the UK’s most well-known businesses about the alleged misuse of key search engine phrases. Some significant guidance has already been given by the Court of Appeal but we believe that businesses that place deliberate over reliance on another company’s registered Trademark to attract internet searches should be prevented from doing so. The matter is still under judicial consideration.
The Bottom Line
The best time to register your business trademark is when you first decide on your business name. But the second best time is today.
Registration is relatively simple and will not only give you peace of mind, but will add value to your business.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01785 223440 today to discuss the registration of your business’s Trademark or for more information.