24 August 2018

Protect the Investment in your Brand – Intellectual Property basics

All too often businesses overlook the importance of protecting the IP in their brand; not only will it safeguard your idea and name, but a well-protected brand portfolio is also very attractive to investors and potential buyers.

You’ve got a great idea for a product or business, you’ve thought of a brand name, you’ve battled to get investment to bring your idea to market and finally, after sleepless nights and much hard toil you launch.

Everything is going well until you notice another company is using your brand name (or something confusingly similar) or that a competitor has brought out a similar product – What can you do? Unfortunately without IP protection in place your options are very limited.

How can you protect your innovation/ brand?

1. Register your product’s brand name as a trade mark

A trade mark is a distinctive name, sign or logo which helps your customers differentiate your goods or services from your competitors.
A good trade mark can be a powerful and valuable business asset helping you to enhance consumer awareness, stimulate demand and generate customer loyalty. For many companies, including Nike, Apple and Coca Cola, their trade marks are their most valuable IP right.

So why is a trade mark so valuable to your brand? A trade mark provides monopoly protection to the owner of the mark. They last 10 years, are renewable indefinitely, and give you the exclusive right to use the name on your products and most importantly to stop anyone else from using it.

2. Apply for a Patent

A patent is a right granted to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without their permission. A patentable invention must be something that can be made or used, is inventive and is new.

Registering a patent usually takes about 2 years, but grants you a monopoly right for whole 20 years to stop others copying, manufacturing, selling or importing your invention without permission. A patent is not only a way of protecting your invention but monetising it and can bringing in royalties via a license or even an upfront fee if someone is looking to buy.

3. Register Design Rights

A design right protects the shape and configuration (how different parts of a design are arranged together) of objects, for example, its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials or its ornamentation.

Registered your design right grants you an absolute monopoly to manufacture and use your design for 25 years, and is a relatively quick and easy process.

4. Protect your Copyright

Copyright is an automatic form of protection given to the authors or creators of original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. You will have no doubt come across people evidencing their copyright by stamping their work with: © [YEAR]. All Rights Reserved

Copyright is not registerable in the UK but there are key steps you can take to make sure that you can evidence the copyright you have in your works, in case of any infringements.

Get in touch

All too often businesses overlook the importance of protecting the IP in their brand, not only will this safeguard your idea and name but a well-protected brand portfolio is also very attractive to investors and potential buyers. Don’t get caught-out! Contact us today to get your IP protected!


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About the Author
Emma Kirkpatrick, Trade Mark Assistant
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