Many small businesses are often busy taking care of all the important aspects needed to run on a daily basis, however one of the aspects often overlooked by newly registered or young companies is trademarking. A trademark is an essential piece of intellectual property that serves a number of purposes, protecting your brand name and allowing others to easily identify you.
It’s not until problems arise that many wish they had taken care of this element sooner, and all the hard work you’ve put into building your brand could be taken away from you due to this apparently minor oversight. This was the case in 2019 with luxury car manufacturer Bentley, who were prevented from creating a line of branded clothing because another UK business trademarked Bentley Clothing back in 1982. If it can turn sour for the largest of businesses, you can guarantee small business don’t stand a chance if a trademark dispute ends up in court.
It may seem insignificant to trademark your business name, slogan, logo, product or service, but the reasons for doing so are much greater than the small outlay it actually costs to create your own trademark, saving you heartache and financial worry should anything arise in the future.
Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to trademark:
- Great communication – your logo, colours, company mission are all tied up in your brand
- Provides legal protection – trademark protection means you can sue if your brand’s misused
- Set yourself apart – in a crowded market, a trademark makes you stand out much more
- People can find you – your brand name can be searched easily on social media
- It’s an asset – as your reputation increases, so does the value of your brand name
- Easy hiring – people trust trademarked brand names when it comes to finding employment
- It’s inexpensive – it doesn’t cost the earth to trademark, and the benefits outweigh the cost
- It won’t expire – once you have your brand trademarked, it’s yours for life
What can happen if I don’t trademark?
All of your hard work, time, effort and money that’s been spent over the years building up your brand could be taken away overnight if someone else takes advantage of your success and trademarks your business name or product before you do. It’s hard to imagine receiving a cease and desist letter directed towards the company you’ve built from the ground up, but it is a real possibility should you choose not to guard your interests legitimately.
Legally, you don’t have a leg to stand on if you try to fight against this in court, and it will be made clear the onus was on you to trademark first, even if the opposing trademark was done intentionally or maliciously. You may even have to cease or reduce trading under that name by court order, and start fresh with a full rebrand and everything that entails – a nightmare for any company.
How to trademark?
You can choose to use the government website to register a trademark yourself, or you can make sure every step of the process and application is completed properly by an expert solicitor for a nominal fee so no important details are overlooked that could jeopardise the validity of your new trademark. They will look into aspects of trademarking you wouldn’t consider to make sure your trademark is viable. Whichever option you choose, trademarking is something that should be done sooner rather than later and can be done in just a few days.