Protecting your trade marks
Here are my five top tips for protecting your trade marks – and your business.
Firstly, use a specialist trade mark attorney who can properly register your trade mark to give you exclusive rights in the territories within which it is registered. Many business owners believe that their registered company name and domain names are sufficient forms of protection. They are not.
Secondly, carry out proper searches beforehand. A professionally conducted search of the trade mark registers is essential prior to putting a new trade mark name into use. A Google search is not enough!
Thirdly, think about investing in a ‘strong’ rather than a ‘weak’ trade mark. A ‘weak’ mark tends to be a descriptive business or product name (eg ‘Premier Cleaning Services’). On the face of it you have less work explaining what you actually do. But you run the risk if it is too generic that it might be difficult to enforce the registration if others decide to copy it.
Fourthly, having a strong and correctly registered trade mark will help you take on the counterfeiters. The first thing the likes of HMRC or Trading Standards will ask a company facing this problem is proof of their trade mark registration.
At the same time, online sales platforms such as ebay and Amazon will also directly intervene on your behalf if you can prove the rights to your intellectual property through your trade mark registration certificate.
Finally, be vigilant. Ensure your trade mark attorney is constantly scanning for new registrations that might be very close – or identical – to your trade marks. It is far easier to oppose new applications than try to make good the situation years later.BACK TO NEWS & OPINION