THREE ESSENTIAL STEPS TO PREVENT YOUR NEXT COSMETICS BRAND BEING A FINANCIAL DISASTER
After months of planning, researching, and testing, everything has come together. What’s more, inspiration has struck you and you’ve thought of a great name for your new product.
There are three essential steps that your trade mark attorney will recommend you take before your product is launched to the public, all of which can be done for a relatively small investment.
Failure to take any of these steps could mean you are left with an IP problem, more commonly known as thousands in legal bills, leading to your brand being scuppered before you’ve hardly started.
CHECK – Make sure you can use the name.
Is your name or something similar already registered as a trade mark for cosmetics, or in use by a competitor? You are entering a crowded and competitive market. Be aware of the consequences of entering that market unprepared; you could find yourself at the wrong end of an infringement action.
Do your research but be aware that checking use on the internet via a Google search is not enough. Trade marks are often registered in advance and may be held for as much as five years before being put into commercial use. So, just because you don’t find the mark when you search the internet, don’t conclude that you are free to use and register it.
There is no substitute for a full trade mark search, which looks at the UK and European Registers to check for all confusingly similar marks. Your trade mark attorney will be able to conduct such a search and provide you with a reasoned opinion based on current case law, on whether you should go ahead with this brand.
PROTECT – Make sure no one else can use the name.
Firstly, check with your trade mark attorney whether the name is registrable. A trade mark cannot be descriptive of the goods concerned or their characteristics, otherwise the Intellectual Property Office will not give you a monopoly in it. You won’t be able to register such marks as SMOOTHEST HAND CREAM, FACE WASH, or MY BODY SCRUB.
A strong brand is one which is memorable and one which you are able to protect. You ideally want consumers to commit to you from the start, and they cannot do that if they struggle to remember who you are.
Protect your chosen name by registering it in respect of the correct goods. Your trade mark attorney will advise you how to navigate the pitfalls of the registration procedure, taking care of the application every step of the way.
Once registered, you are able to take action against other parties who copy your name. Imitation is not flattery and will cost you money if you don’t do something about it. What if someone else copies your name, and sells a poor-quality product which damages someone’s skin? The consequences of confusion with such an outfit and your resultant loss of reputation will cause damage to your goodwill.
MONITOR – Make sure you look after your name.
Trade mark registration of your name is not the end of the story. Trade marks are a valuable asset of your business, and their value can decrease through inaction on the part of your business. Once successful businesses grow, they amass a portfolio of trade mark registrations for their products. Such careful business planning and acquisition of assets reflects well on the company’s balance sheet and these days is a must in order to attract savvy investors.
To monitor your trade mark, your attorney will recommend a watching service. This will continually sweep the Trade Mark Registers so that you are informed if another business applies for a mark which is the same or similar to your own.
Not everyone registers their name as a trade mark. You should therefore monitor your competitors and look out for usage at trade shows and exhibitions. If another party is using your mark, don’t try and stop them yourselves, but take a photo of what they are doing, and pass it on to your trade mark attorney. Look through trade and industry blogs and magazines for potential infringements. Have your trade mark attorney contact the party involved to request them to cease use, before too much damage is done to your brand. If consumers are confused, revenue will be being diverted elsewhere.BACK TO NEWS & OPINION