How to Protect your brand

18th March 2019

Having created a brand and a logo for your new business how do you now protect this and stop others copying it ?

Business owners commonly create and invent literary and artistic works (such as symbols, names and images) that are used to identify and promote their company. These devices can be a valuable asset of the business and, in many cases, it is possible to legally protect them to prevent competitors using them to their own advantage.

Trademarking is a way of protecting your company logo. If you have created a new and unique logo for your business it may be possible to protect it by registering it at the Intellectual Property Office. There are various rules regarding what can and what cannot be registered. For example, the trade mark cannot include common surnames or place names or describe the goods or services that the business is selling. You can only register your trade mark within the specific business area that you trade in.  For example, a trade mark for a new brand of coffee could be registered in class known as ‘Foodstuffs of plant origin’.  It is prudent to seek legal advice when considering applying to register a trade mark as if the application is incomplete or inaccurate it will be rejected.

A registered trade mark provides a business owner with effective protection against a competitor making improper and unauthorised use of their brand. When a trade mark has been formally registered in the UK the device ® can be used next to the mark to warn others that is protected under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

There are many advantages to registering a trade mark. It can add a degree of gravitas to your business and can help you position your products or services in the marketplace. It is also a way of protecting your business identity. It is also possible to register a trade mark in other territories including Europe, the U.S.A and Australia. A registered trade mark can be a valuable asset and generally the more successful your business becomes the more valuable your trade mark is likely to be.

When your mark is registered if you spot a competitor trying to use that mark, or one that it is very similar, it is possible that they may be infringing your legal rights and you may be entitled to bring a legal action against them to prevent it. Expert legal advice should be sought if you believe one of your competitors is using your trademark without your permission.