Trademark protection is something that has beenmissed in building a unique identity for the consumers. That identity reflects quality and value for the products of that company, but more importantly it channels the trust to the consumer. The last thing that you’d want to do as a business is to infringe on a trademarked brand of another firm. Not only is it unethical and illegal, but it can cost you your reputation and customers. Thus it is important to ensure that nothing of the sort happens while choosing your trademark.
Let’s have a look on the things that you can do to protect your trademark:
The best way to stay clear of all the hassle that might come your way if your trademark overlaps with someone else’s, is simply not to steal from anyone else. It is ok to take inspiration from someone else’s trademark, but not too much. At times your trademark can naturally end up being a bit similar because of the designs of shape of logos etc. but make sure yours is still significantly different from others before building equity into your brand.
Quite a few companies over the years have fired legal barrels at others accusing them of brand infringement. Companies go a long way to protect their brands.
Read more about how to pick a unique trademark that can be registered.
Register Your Trademark
This is common sense. You have to come up with a trademark that hasn’t been used by anyone else. Uniqueness has its way of protecting your trademark. To protect yourself from certain fraud, register your trademark. This will give you legal coverage against any attack from other companies. Registration is pretty cheap, easy and quick whilst re-branding and lawsuits are expensive, so it makes no sense to not do it. Registration is your first step to trademark protection.
Deal with Infringement Aggressively
You need to be aggressive to defend yourself against others infringing on your legally registered trademarks. First and foremost, contact your trademark agent for a consultation and make sure all your registrations are up to date. Then, send a courteous letter, describing the problems and spelling out how they should resolve the infringement. If you don’t get an adequate response from the company, sending a cease-and-desist letter should be your next course of action. As the last resort you might have to go to court to protect your trademark.
Check Out What Your Competitors Are Doing
Leaders need to monitor the market continuously for any possible signs of brand infringement. If for example, the tagline of your company is a registered trademark, you can start searching occasionally for tag on some of the popular search engines like Bing or Google to see if anyone else might be using it. You could consider setting up a Google Alert that sends you an email if it finds a site with a specific search term on it.
Visiting competitors’ websites can be a good way keep up with what they are trying to do and also to make sure they are not infringing on your brand. The later you discover any infringement the harder it will be to fight it so always better to be on your toes.
A well-established brand goes a long way in determining the reach a company can have. To protect it you need to register your trademark with the governments in each market you are operating, but you also need to communicate within and outside your company how to use your name and designs. Also following a branding plan is a fool-proof way to make sure that you have your path towards branding. By being consistent you make it easier for customers to remember and relate to your company. For example, there is the scary example of companies whose brands have gone from being a protected trademark to a general dictionary word – aspirin, zipper and escalator all fell victim of so called Generalization.
Protecting your brand should be one of the most important things in ensuring longevity and success of your company. You should take every measure possible to make that happen.