17.03.2020 Commercial Legal advice

Trademarking 101

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Trademarking 101

Have you had any of your assets trademarked? Should you? Why?

There’s a misconception that only big business need to consider trademarks. We just finalised a really interesting trademark case for a client that highlighted the importance of trademarks for any business of any size.

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are a particular symbol, word(s) or logo which represents a specific company or product. If you break the word down, it actually becomes pretty self explanatory… MARK the thing (symbol, word or logo) that defines and represents your company or product in the course of TRADE.

Why are trademarks important?

Registering a trademark is crucial because it gives you exclusivity to use your symbol/name/logo in your industry and protection against others trying to copy or portray themselves as having an association with you. If you don’t have your logo and business name trademarked, your neighbour could start up an identical business and you’d find it very difficult to do anything about it. Whilst there are some defences available, their application is narrow.

Trademarking in practice…

One of our recent matters involved an unfortunate but common oversight by our client. By no means is this client a transnational conglomerate, but they have had a very successful small business for over 20 years.  One day last year they received a letter from a lawyer representing a brand new company to ‘cease and desist’ from trading using the company name they had been operating under for 20 years. The other company had registered our client’s company name as a trademark in the same class of services.  It’s important to note that the two respective companies, whilst working in the same industry, were not actually direct competitors.  But such is the nature of the law, the legal position is that the other company had the right to use the name due to the fact that they had registered the trademark first, despite our client being in business for 20 years.  Furthermore, our client was forced to stop using their company name and also risks losing business due to the name change and possible confusion caused by prospective clients. As lawyers, it’s disappointing to see easily avoidable situations play out like this, and as fellow small business owners, we share the incredible frustration it causes.

Registering a Trademark

If you’ve read this and just had a bit of a lightbulb moment, pick up the phone! We can register your trademarks with ease. A hassle-free process means protecting your business identity and peace of mind knowing you’ve avoided a potentially stressful battle somewhere down the line.

Get in touch here.