Every time you create a product, service, or business, you need a brand identity for it. Without a doubt, the most important element of most brands is the name.
The law protects names through trademarks, not copyright.
It is not possible to claim copyright in a name, even if the name is one you made up.
Start ups often wonder whether they need to spend the money to register a trademark. Some wonder why it’s not enough to have registered a company or domain name. Yet others have heard of unregistered trademark rights being acquired through use, and wonder why they should not just use the name without bothering with any trademark registrations.
The short answer to whether company or domain registrations are enough is no. Domain and company names do not give you the necessary rights you need in a name. The fact that they are available to register does not mean you may use...
Quin & Donnelly was a well-known and successful fashion design partnership in Ireland which was founded more than 30 years ago when the pair were fashion students.
Their collections had been sold for more than 15 years by retailers including Brown Thomas and House of Fraser when a dispute concerning their brand name Quin & Donnelly brought about the death of the brand. As the Times reported in 2014 Fashion duo’s fight ends in brand death.
The reason for mentioning the case is to emphasise the importance of registering a trade mark to protect the brand value in your name and the brand equity you generate. There are so many ways in which failing to take basic steps concerning trademarks can cause problems for a business and this is just one example.
The designers had registered their name as a business name (on the register of Business Names, which has now been abolished)....
Copyright is a wide-ranging subject, and relevant to many creative and non-creative industries.
It is arguably the most universally relevant IP right, covering written materials, music, art, logos, and computer programs, to name a few. It protects most visual brand elements, such as logos, packaging, and websites, albeit it may also be possible to protect these by also registering some of them as designs or trademarks to secure added protection.
Copyright protects original expression, but not ideas themselves. So, if someone were to suggest an idea to you to execute, such as an unusual looking picture of a bird, or gave you an idea for a plot, you as the creator would own copyright in the picture or plot you produce,and the person who gave you the idea will have no rights to any share of it. So the person with ideas gets no copyright in the work created as a result of their ideas unless there is a...
I’m Shireen Smith, a lawyer who supports businesses to identify, defend and protect their intellectual property. After a career working for large organisations, including as an inhouse lawyer at Reuters, I founded Azrights, which is a boutique intellectual property law firm in London and Hastings. Since then I’ve worked with hundreds of clients from start-ups through to large multinationals with over £300 million in turnover.
For business leaders responsible for intellectual property
Are you in charge of addressing the intellectual property needs of your organisation? Does the buck stop with you? Do you want to ensure the foundations of your business are solid, and that the value of your IP accumulates and increases as you grow in success? Are you keen to avoid failure of your projects through inappropriate treatment of intellectual property?
Then you’ll want to find out why adopting an “IP First” approach is the key to managing...
Trade marks are your “badge of origin”, and serve to identify your products and services. Without trade marks, it would be impossible to find the products and services we like and to avoid those we don’t. So, trade marks are tools enabling consumers to identify products and services they have enjoyed and want to buy again.
Trademarks protect the reputation and goodwill of a brand.
Any sign unique to your business may be registered as a trademark. The most commonly registered marks are words, logos, and slogans.
International Trade Mark Protection
There is no such thing as an international trademark. Trademarks are territorial, meaning you need to register in each country in which you intend to trade.
Trademarks give you rights in the country or territory where you register. For companies trading in UK or Europe, the first step will be to apply for a UK or EU trademark. Those businesses that purely trade in this country will just want to register a UK...
In my previous post, I looked at the issue of protecting your blog content and identity. This blog briefly looks at some of the issues concerning the inclusion of other people’s materials in your content.
As I mentioned in the last blog, as a blogger you need to look in both directions when it comes to intellectual property (“IP”). In particular, you should ensure that what appears on your blog – be it text, photos, or comments – does not infringe the IP rights of someone else.
Before you launch your blog, with your new blog identity, you should carry out trade mark searches to make sure your name, tagline and logo don’t infringe the registered trade marks of another person or company.
Moreover, make sure the contents of your blog presence don’t infringe someone else’s copyright. Content is not necessarily in the public domain just because it is freely available to access on the Internet. Unless you...
These days, any of us can be a blogger. All you need is somewhere to post your content, and an interesting angle on life – be it sports, politics, travel, food, music, you name it – you can blog your perspective on it. What’s more, you can attract a worldwide audience of thousands or even millions.
However, as well as a web presence and a flair for writing, you should also develop an awareness of intellectual property (“IP” for short) and its impact on your blogging activities.
IP is essentially about protecting our intellectual creations, and that includes of course our blog entries. But whatever A has protected, B may infringe. So, when we consider blogging and IP, you need to look in both directions: how can you, as a blogger, protect your IP and also, how can you ensure that your blog does not infringe the IP of others? Here today we look at “A” – what you have protected. In next week’s blog, we look at “B”...
Last week I mentioned how I had found my purpose after committing to think about it by regularly revisiting the question.
This took several months. Part of the reason it might have taken so long is that the question was bound up with how I could turn my intellectual property work into something which includes my interest in business and branding.
I have always been interested in the commercial side of life, which is why I became an in-house lawyer at Reuters.
I’ve been very into marketing, business, and branding since founding Azrights too. So, dealing purely with intellectual property felt like I was only addressing half the issues many of my clients faced.
True some of my clients need purely intellectual property legal work. However, even they have teams to educate on IP, and there is currently no solution on the market to enable them to do this and protect their IP on an ongoing...
“Begin With the End in Mind.” as Stephen Covey put it in the 7 habits of highly effective people.
It’s worth taking the time to consider what you ultimately value in life. What really matters to you, and what you hope it all adds up to in the end.
Studies have shown that living a life of purpose leads to better health and overall happiness.
Think about what your purpose in life is and keep doing so regularly till you’re clear.
Working Out My Purpose
One way I’ve looked at the topic is to ask myself, if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness like Steve Jobs was, would I continue working, doing what I’m doing to the end or would I immediately want to stop work?
For me, the answer is that I would continue working to the end, as Steve Jobs did because I’ve gradually created a business that is engaged in solving a meaningful problem in the world, and I have a vision for how to do it.
It wasn’t always so.
If the answer for you...
When starting a business, you need to think about how to establish your brand.
Your brand is what drives your business, a set of promises and assurances that customers should think of when they see or hear your name. It is your unique identity that resonates with your target audience and differentiates you from your competitors.
With the correct strategy, your brand will gain in value over time. This value will come from the positive reputation your business develops.
Brand establishment should be considered as a long-term goal and essential to your overall business strategy.
The following tips will help you consider how to establish your brand.
The first step is to establish your brand strategy.
This should be considered when you first come up with your business idea, and should be kept in mind as your business develops.
As part of the strategy ask yourself what are the promises I want to be associated with my brand and how can I ensure my brand...
By signing up for Legally Branded Newsletter, You will gain insights every week on intellectual property. Paying attention to IP is the way to discover what steps to take to preserve the value of your assets, to grow your profit margins, create new income streams, protect your market share, and prevent competitors from copying your ideas.