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Specialisms

Brand Protection

“Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the marketplace.” – David Ogilvy

We help clients navigate the complex process of creating, growing and protecting brands so they are built to last.

 

Working With you To Create, Build and Protect Household Name Brands

 

Brands are how clients and customers recognise you.

Whether it is a logo, or the name of your company, products or services – brands are signs which alert the buying public that what you're selling originates from you and no-one else.

Brands act as a "seal of quality" and origin that are empowered by goodwill your business has built up over the course of its operation.

 

 

Example: Nike

 

Consider a pair of Nike trainers placed alongside an identical pair – except the identical pair does not display any branding elements. No “Nike”, no “swoosh”. For most consumers, at the same (or even a discounted) price point – the branded trainers are more attractive.

This is because Nike’s branding adds value to the consumer, including but not limited to:

  1. A promise of quality
  2. Association with culture surrounding that product (e.g. association by many of the world’s best athletes)
  3. Expression of these qualities to others

This value is absolutely crucial to Nike, in fact, in 2019 Nike’s brand alone was valued at $32.4 billion. It is the same for all companies who become known for their products and services and using branding to differentiate themselves from competitors. Especially when others will use marks or signs used by these companies to redirect trade or take advantage by using signs illegitimately.

 

Protecting your name

 

Simply put, brands need to be protected, not only to stop infringement, copycats and counterfeits – but also in order to secure brands in a way where they can be licensed, franchised and primed for business growth.

Brands are protected by registered rights in the form of trade marks and can attract protection through unregistered rights under the tort of passing off.

As a business grows it is vital that they have a proactive brand protection strategy in place in order to secure and grow the value of these assets in line with their business. Virtuoso Legal’s team has a storied history in partnering with international businesses to secure and develop their brands.

 

 

More than just trade marks

 

Whilst trade marks are the lynchpin of world-class brand portfolios - in today's technology-driven world, brand protection has to go above and beyond registration and enforcement of TMs. Brand protection today needs to be comprehensive and constantly evolving, including:

  • registering domains, monitoring and taking down potentially damaging ones
  • capture and monitoring of social media platform identities, and keeping up with new platforms that gain popularity
  • reviewing and issuing takedown requests for unauthorised listings on online marketplaces e.g. Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Shopify and Etsy
  • emergent technology such as blockchain

Amongst many others.

True vigilance requires not only a comprehensive and evolving view of the digital world for infringement but the teeth to act proactively to address risks before they become problems that affect a business' bottom line.

Virtuoso Legal have brought together a host of world-leading solutions in a single package; which, combined with their experience and expertise provides our clients with elite brand protection. Scroll below to read more about the individual areas of brand protection service in more detail.

 

 

Trade Mark and Brand Registration

 

There are certain things that brands become known for. Whether it is their: names, logos, colours or originality, success draws the attention of copycats who through infringement damage brand reputation and revenues.

The best defence against this is to register and maintain brands within a trade mark portfolio.

Virtuoso Legal offer comprehensive brand registration services, internationally which:

  • Secure the best possible key brands in relevant jurisdictions
  • Allow you quickly nip any infringement in the bud through trade mark enforcement
  • Help generate business growth and revenue through commercialising brands

As intellectual property specialists, Virtuoso Legal solicitors have registered thousands of trade marks successfully over the past 15 years, in the UK, EU, USA, China and worldwide.

If you are looking to register your trade marks and build a brand portfolio that dominates the marketplace, click the button below to contact our brand protection team and begin the process.

 

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Registered Design Rights

 

Designers who create unique and innovative designs can protect them legally through registered design rights. Whilst all designs have some protection automatically, registered design rights are both longer-lasting and offer more protection.

Registering design rights protects the visual appearance of a functional object, including:

  • physical shape, colour, material, lines and texture
  • a monopoly right over the design, meaning that you don’t have to explicitly prove copying
  • a longer duration, 25 years as opposed to 15 in the UK and 3 in the EU if not registered

Virtuoso Legal have assisted a range of businesses in achieving registered design status for their designs.

To learn more about how we can protect your innovative designs, get in touch with our team by clicking the button below.

 

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Comprehensive Brand Monitoring and Landscaping

 

Once brands are registered it is important to keep watch over them to discover any issues promptly and identify further opportunities as they present themselves in the broader landscape through monitoring.  A range of watching services can be used, including but not limited to:

  • Trade mark watching, identifying and opposing brands that present a risk
  • Domain name watching, defensive registrations and enforcements against squatters and bad actors
  • Marketplace and social media platform monitoring such as Amazon, Facebook or Instagram

 

Virtuoso Legal offer the Virtuoso Vigilance solution, which gives clients the capability to have a bird’s eye view of their brand footprint globally and spot risks and opportunities as they emerge.

If you would like to learn more about how the Virtuoso Vigilance solutions can help protect your brand portfolio, click below to get in touch with the team and find out more.

 

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Creating and Managing Brand Portfolios

 

As businesses grow and understand the commercial value of the brand – the business case for registering and managing brand portfolios becomes increasingly clear.

A balancing act is required to ensure that the brands are commercialised appropriately, and that management is handled effectively to keep brands healthy and in the best shape moving forward.

  • We create and secure brand portfolios for businesses that are solid and built to last
  • We manage portfolios for your peace of mind knowing that your brands are maintained and protected
  • We put you in the best position to dominate your space to gain significant insights and increase the revenue from your brands

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you develop and manage a comprehensive brand portfolio, get in touch by clicking the button below.

 

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Forecasting International Brand Deployment

 

Expanding your business overseas means bringing your brands to new audiences and protecting them in new environments. A host of due diligence and preparation through forecasting ensures:

  • Risks and opportunities in new international markets are identified and addressed prior to launch
  • We take care of localisation and translation to make sure that domestic equivalents are protected too
  • We review local brand protection risks and opportunities, including domestic social media and marketplaces.

Expanding your brand footprint internationally presents businesses with a host of priorities to address. Our team are experienced specialists in getting your brands up and running quickly in new jurisdictions. Get in touch by clicking the button below to learn more about how we can help you.

 

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Counterfeit Monitoring and Enforcement

 

When brands reach a certain size, they begin to find themselves “suffering from success”. For those that produce goods this can often come in the form of counterfeits.

Counterfeits are harmful to brands because:

  • They damage the reputation of your brand and lose customer trust
  • They can be putting health and safety of customers at risk through the use of inferior or unregulated materials
  • They lead to profit loss for brand owners, while diverting revenues to the pockets of bad actors who thrive from abusing a brand’s good name.

Because of the harm associated with the above, counterfeiting is an offence that often results in criminal sanctions.

We offer businesses who are seeking to stop counterfeits a wide scope of monitoring and enforcement solutions, meaning that damage can be quickly identified, rectified or avoided totally.

To find out more get in touch with our anti-counterfeiting team by clicking the button below.

 

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Domain Monitoring Strategy and Enforcement

 

In today’s online world, brand protection requires more than just registering a trade mark.

The online space is vast and up for grabs, and unlike the meticulous and examined process of registering a trade mark, bad actors have the ability to quickly and easily register brand-infringing domain names for their own gain.

Through unauthorised and infringing registrations bad actors will:

  • squat on a domain name aiming to sell it back to legitimate brand owners, who feel that they are held to ransom
  • redirect traffic by diverting virtual footfall from genuine websites
  • profiteer by using your brand’s good name in uninterrupted and often unidentified ways

Easy brand protection solutions offer the ability to reclaim these domain names without giving in to the demands of the bad actors.

This involves domain provider (e.g. GoDaddy, Tucows) and ICANN requests, which handled properly are a quick way of limiting damage and retrieving domains. 

A smart strategy consists of registering and maintaining domain names proactively and defensively, as well as enforcing and reclaiming unauthorised registrations from abusers to keep your brands safe from erosion.

If you are looking for more information about domain name monitoring and protection strategy, get in touch with our brand protection team by clicking the button below.

 

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Blockchain Monitoring

 

Many proponents suggest that blockchain technologies will usher in “internet 3.0”. Whilst still speculative, the space is increasingly difficult to ignore.

Unfortunately, this is the same as far as bad actors go with brands at risk in a new way through blockchain projects and unlicensed activities occurring in the space.

Virtuoso Legal have access to technology that allows for monitoring of the Ethereum blockchain for such infringements, allowing you to be alert to this fast-moving area.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you monitor your brand on Ethereum for potential issues, get in touch by clicking the button below.

 

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Brand Valuations and Audits

 

Brands are incredibly valuable to businesses. However, like many other intangible assets, they can be difficult to evaluate financially.

Valuations can be useful here and typically occur alongside an audit which can be used to increase the value of the asset too.

Doing so can be very valuable to businesses because:

  • It allows you to put your brand portfolio on your balance sheet
  • It allows you to allocate the required time and money into protecting the asset
  • It helps you identify additions that can be made to further increase its value

Virtuoso Legal have produced a range of brand audits for companies, which had been considered the gold standard by the IPO.

If you would like to know more or talk to our team about a brand valuation or audit, get in touch by clicking the button below.

 

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IP Management and Process Development

 

Businesses with brand portfolios and a proactive stance with their IP engrain management and processes of their most valuable asset into their day-to-day operations.

Virtuoso Legal can provide support businesses by:

  • Helping them create and establish processes within their businesses that champion IP best practices
  • Offering bespoke training and education to teams who can benefit from a better understanding of the value of intellectual property

If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help with IP management and process development, get in touch with our brand protection specialists by clicking below.

 

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Brand Appeals, Opposition and Revocation

 

Brand portfolio management requires various forms of engagement with intellectual property offices to address 3rd party registrations that encroach.

This includes but is not limited to :

  • Appeals to intellectual property offices relating to decisions surrounding trade marks
  • Opposition to proposed registration which is seen to encroach upon an existing brand
  • Invalidations, amendments and revocations of 3rd party trade marks where relevant

To effectively manage a brand portfolio, specialists are required who can undertake these communications with intellectual property offices effectively, both at home and in other countries where relevant.

If you would like to know more, get in touch with our brand protection team by clicking below.

 

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Online marketplace enforcement

 

The number of online marketplaces today is exploding, as customers seek quick and easy ways to get the goods they desire online.

Whether it is Amazon, eBay, AliExpress or smaller, more local platforms such as Etsy and Shopify – marketplaces connect popular brands with eager customers. They can cause issues to brand owners, however, from infringers and counterfeiters who are equally active on the very same marketplaces. The two most common issues are:        

  • counterfeiting 
  • brand abuse from unauthorised use

 

Legitimate brand owners can protect themselves by registering to brand protection programmes offered by platforms with the help of IP experts to address any brand abuse issues on platforms.

The number of online marketplaces globally has increased exponentially thanks to the tremendous growth of e-commerce. The accrued damage from unauthorised use and infringements across the marketplaces can become significant if left unchecked. 

Virtuoso Vigilance offers brand owners the ability to actively monitor marketplaces, big and small and address issues as they arise. If you would like to know more, get in touch with our brand protection team by clicking below.

 

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“It is no surprise to anyone worth their salt in business that the most valuable companies in the world are also those who have the most valuable brands in their ownership. In a digital world where companies quickly have an international footprint and become overnight successes it becomes quickly clear that strong brands that can be legally enforced are crucial. We’re always delighted to help businesses secure their priorities and develop brand portfolios which quickly multiply in value”

Kirsten Toft, Vice-Principal

Our experts in this area

Kirsten Toft

Elizabeth Ward

Kate Reid

Kostas Retzopoulos

Rahema Hussain

Case study

An international linguistic services company found a website using its brand selling services. The team at Virtuoso Legal investigated, finding a competing company had set it up and had been siphoning business through the site. This was a cybersquatting and trade mark infringement case, resulting in a record cost and damages award. Click to read…
Read more

How can we help?

If you need assistance in any of these areas, get in touch with our world class solicitors.

Leeds 0113 237 9900

London 0208 088 2367

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