Why register and monitor a trade mark?

19th May 2022 Intellectual Property

1.       Trade Marks are valuable

Twitter has sold for $44 billion: a simple idea succeeded mainly because of its brand – a highly valuable asset. However without a trade mark this value is hard to assess. By registering, monitoring and enforcing its trade mark the brand itself becomes a valuable asset.

A trade mark gives you the monopoly right to prevent others from using your brand in respect of the products and services covered by your registration. As such, if someone uses a similar mark for similar products or services, you can take action against them. It goes without saying that once you have a registration, you need to protect it.

2.       Cheaper enforcement, so long-term cost savings

If you do not have a trade mark, the default position when going after copycats is to rely upon an action of passing off. To bring this claim you need to evidence your rights and this can often be difficult, time consuming and therefore costly. By contrast, a trade mark infringement claim is more straight forward; your registration is prima facie evidence of your rights.

3.       It can act as a deterrent against copycats

If you own a registered trade mark you can use the ® symbol to indicate that your brand is protected, which can act as a valuable deterrent to possible infringers. By marking your brand in this fashion you are communicating that you have a registration and that you intend to enforce your rights.

4.       It can attract investors and increase the value of your business

A brand is highly valuable. Registration of a trademark is an important step in protecting a brand, protecting goodwill associated with the business, and preventing third parties from infringing or imitating a brand. If you intend to sell your business or secure investment, having a registered trademark will increase your credibility and make you appear more attractive to a prospective buyer.

If you are unsure about what rights you have, an IP audit can identify any gaps in your portfolio and any remedial action. By taking this action before undertaking an investment round, or looking towards merger opportunities, you might boost the value of your business.

5.       Your trade mark can help make you more money

You can make money from your brand through licensing, franchising, and selling your brand.

Licensing agreements can take various forms. For instance, an entity may provide a trademark licence to a third party in exchange for royalties or an annual licence fee.

You may wish to enter into a franchising agreement, which would allow the franchisee to operate its business under the brand of the franchisor.

Assigning your brand is often attractive to businesses that no longer wish to use a particular brand. By“selling” your trade mark you can receive a lump sum payment in exchange.

6.       A trade mark is a tool in your anticounterfeiting armoury

You can register your trade mark with HMRC. By following this process, HMRC will be able to let you know when any potentially infringing products hit the border and you can then take action.

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Lucy Marlow is a Senior Associate located in Londonin our Intellectual Property department

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