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Pet Brand protection

Is Your Pet Brand Barking Up The Wrong Tree?

Us Brits love our pets, which is why the pet brand market is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative markets to get into.

According to TotallyMoney.com, pet owners in the UK spent a record-breaking £7.16bn on their animals in 2017, a growth of 25% since 2010.

That equates to an average annual spend of £472.2 per pet.

It sounds like a fabulous amount until you realise that the dog population alone in the UK is close to 8.5 million with 24% of households owning at least one dog (Source: PFMA).

Of course, a rapidly growing market like this one is also highly competitive. Therefore finding your niche and the perfect brand name is essential to your success.

Marking your territory with a strong trade mark

A trade mark serves two purposes:

  • To protect consumers from being misled
  • To protect a business’ reputation

For the consumer, it conveys the quality and source of the goods produced under a specific trade mark.

For the business owner, it protects the goodwill of their business from any harmful counterfeit goods.

So what makes a strong trade mark?

Well, there’s a recognised sliding scale of potential monikers.

At the top of the list (the most protectable trade marks) are the arbitrary or fanciful names. They are the ones that bear no relationship to the goods or services sold under that trade mark. For example, in the pet world, KONG would be seen as arbitrary.

At the bottom of the pile is the generic name. They are the least protectable because, as the word generic suggests, they are terms necessary for all businesses (in that sector) to use to describe certain goods and services.

Somewhere in between are the ‘cutsey’ and descriptive names. There appears to be a growing trend for these within the pet market. These brand names tend to use a clever play on words. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, although you have to ask yourself will they stand the test of time?

How protectable is your pet brand name?

As mentioned earlier, an arbitrary name (such as KONG) offers the best protection.

Cute brands offer good protection, although you must be careful about potential longevity and brand awareness.

The problem with descriptive marks, such as Doggy Day Care, is that they’re only protectable if you can show that your trade mark has acquired a level of distinctiveness in the eyes of consumers. This is usually regarding your longstanding and exclusive use of the name.

How do you register your pet brand?

Where do you begin?

Registering your trade mark can be a long and complicated process.

This is something we’ve covered before. So, rather than going into swathes of information about the registration process and why it’s essential to have a professional’s help and support, take a look at:

Do I Have To Use A Trade Mark Attorney To File My Trade Mark Registration?

You’ll find everything you need to know there.

A strong brand builds a strong business

Coming up with a strong trade mark can provide significant value to your business.

  • It will help you stand out from your competitors
  • Increase the value of your business in the eyes of potential investors and buyers

Investing in the protection of your trade mark now will help ensure your company’s position in the future.

 

Rachael Ward, of Ward Trade Marks, offers extensive experience in the pet brands arena. Find out how she can help protect your business by calling +44(0) 1223 421779.

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May 24, 2018 Rachael share this article