Make Your Mark
I'm going to cut to the chase.
Does your company have a trade mark yet?
If the answer is no - you're not alone.
On estimate, 40% of SMEs and larger businesses in the UK haven't registered their trade marks yet.
It astonishes me how many businesses don't have their brand registered!
Many businesses spend a lot of time (and money!) deciding the look and feel of their brand.
But then there is often a mental block when it comes to the final step of securing it.
Bang for buck
This is all the more mindboggling when the cost of registering a brand in the UK in one class costs around £1140!
And that cost is inclusive of: 1) professional clearance searches and 2) precise application prep.
Many take a DIY* approach (not recommended!) and get a mark even cheaper.
(*9 times out of 10 the DIY trade mark applicant pays a far more substantial price down the line when problems inevitably arise with the brand or it provokes an infringement claim...)
When £1140 gets you 10-15 years of enhanced brand protection... (which can be renewed indefinitely for a nominal fee) you wonder why such a large proportion of business owners "miss their mark".
What can go wrong
I'll refrain from going too overboard when it comes to the cautionary tales...
But for the sake of posterity, not securing a brand can result in some of the following scenarios.
Number 1: A Nasty Surprise
Finding another company has registered the brand and you can now only use it where you've already established it...
This tends to put the chocks in front of businesses when they're about to expand.
Number 2: Brand Erosion
There is an inability to defend either from flagrant copycats or through brand erosion.
Here, a brand slowly becomes indistinct and your "pulling power" dissolves over time because it can't be enforced effectively.
Number 3: An Unwelcome Rebranding Exercise
Imagine: applying your branding to everything at great cost, then receiving a claim meaning you have to bin it all and start again from scratch. Believe me, it does happen!
What can go right
Ok, ok, so enough of the doom and gloom. What value does a trade mark add to a business?
Number 1: Marketplace Magnetism
Trade marks grant brand owners strong protection of a certain look and feel.
This distinctiveness is a "gravity well" that brings customers in as reputation grows.
Owning a trade mark means that no one can come close to replicating the feeling that makes you, you.
Number 2: A Strong Deterrent
That's because any brand that enters the market that is identical, or similar - can receive a very polite letter from your lawyer.
Ownership of the trade mark places the onus on the other side to provide valid grounds for use of a brand that's close to yours.
Simply put, you hold all the cards in that kind of situation.
The resolutions to brand disputes are much more cost-effective, quick and simple when you own the trade mark. Trust me.
Number 3: Commercial Opportunities
Owning a trade mark grants you a host of commercial opportunities that can boost growth.
3rd party use in licensing and franchising means that your brand can quickly expand far beyond your own company.
These options are not available if you do not have a trade mark to deploy.
A trade mark also functions as an asset within a business, which holds value in and of itself.
If unregistered this value is not pinned down and not available for leverage or sale.
It seems madness for recognisable brands to use brand elements but not actually own them.
In essence, this is like building a house and handing over a set of keys to anyone who wants to move in!
So, what's stopping you?
For around £1140 (and for protection that lasts for 10-15 years!) registering a trade mark really is a priority for businesses in 2022.
It genuinely boggles my mind why people fail to make that final step to get it all secured and sorted.
Now you know why!
Of course, we have somewhat of a vested interest here.
But, honestly? I would prefer that you get it done by professionals - even if that isn't Virtuoso Legal - than not get it done at all.
After all, your success is our success - whichever way you manage to achieve it.
That being said, registering world-class trade marks is our bread and butter and something we do every day.
We would, of course, be happy to help should you be ready to move on this or want to know more about how a trade mark would work for your business.
Drop me an email if you have any general questions or want to know more.
Hope you have a fantastic week,
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