You wouldn’t drive a car without a registration licence – so why are your driving your business without registering your most visible asset, your brand?
One of the most valuable assets a business owner can own is their brand. Business owners should consider protecting their logo (visual features), name (brand identity) and tagline (call to action) in the early stages of commencing their business. You will be pleased to know that that these important branding tools can easily be protected at a minimal cost.
Trade mark protection early in your business journey is an investment in the growth of your business brand. Here are five tips to ensure that your business intellectual property is protected for the next 10 years by registering your branding as a trade mark:
- Many business owners are under the false impression that the registration of their business name or domain name protects their brand in the marketplace. It startles me how, in some cases, people can be in business for several years and still not protect their most visible asset. Just because you have registered your domain name or business name does not mean you have automatic ownership of this name. Only a trade mark gives you legal protection of your name and brand in the marketplace.
- When you are choosing the name for your business complete a search of the Australian trade mark register ATMOSS. This will give you a strong indication of whether your name is legally enforceable.
- Is your business recognised by a colourful or distinctive logo? A trade mark will not only protect your name it will also protect the visual identity of the logo including the colours, shape and design. Have your graphic designers prepare your files in .png or jpeg format, and lodge these with your trade mark registration.
- Do you offer products in more than one industry? Perhaps one day in the future you will, like Richard Branson, offer airlines, credit cards and cola as part of your offerings. Registering your trade mark in more than one class can protect the future growth of your brand, even into other industry sectors.
- Have you considered a tagline for the business? Snappy slogans can also be protected. Taglines such as “Handle Your Own PR” “Australia’s Business Queen” and “The Web Celeb” can also be protected alongside a business name in the same application.
Branding is the way businesses are recognised in the marketplace. It also serves to distinguish businesses from their competitors. Most importantly it is the beacon that draws customers! It therefore makes sense to protect your most visible asset by registering a trade mark in the early stages of your business.
About the author:
Gareth Benson is a qualified intellectual property lawyer who is passionate about the power of ideas to solve problems in the innovation economy, where intellectual property is the new currency. He has worked as a business affairs specialist for public and private sector organisations and consulted with over 500 business owners, including as CEO and co-founder of Strategy Vital