EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE TEACHES US A LESSON IN…TRADE MARKS!
The European Super League (“ESL”) has gone up in a ball of flames but there is no reason why that should happen to you and your business dreams.
While the bones are being picked out of the ESL, we can at least give them credit for one thing; they took steps that all businesses should consider when looking to set up a new brand, and that is to protect its intellectual property, with a trade mark. In the midst of all the pandemonium, it is reported that the ESL filed a trade mark application for ‘The Super League’, both as a ‘word’ and ‘logo’.
A common problem we see is that businesses invest money designing their idea, setting up a trendy website and social media accounts, creating a flashy marketing campaign and having fancy logos printed on their amazing products and packaging. However, they fast forward 6 months later, when a lightbulb moment occurs: ‘perhaps I should get a trade mark?’. Low and behold, someone else is already trading with their name and opposes their trade mark application, and they need to rebrand (for more information on oppositions please see: https://www.briffa.com/help-ive-received-a-notice-of-threatened-opposition-what-do-i-do-now/).
This exact issue occurred earlier this year when Stirling Distillery had to rename its new brand of ‘Pink Lady Gin’ after a legal challenge from Pink Lady Apples. It is reported that the re-brand to Stirling Pink Gin cost in the region of £5,000.
So, what can I do to avoid this issue?
Register a Trade Mark (asap): A registration would give you the monopoly right over the word(s) and/ or logo in the territories applied for. A registered trade mark can be both an invaluable tool in preventing infringement and copying and is also a vital commercial asset.
If you do not register the mark, there is a risk that someone else could register their trade mark before you, potentially giving them strong grounds to prevent you using your brand in the future. If you are already trading under a name that has been registered as a trade mark, you will be committing trade mark infringement and the opposing company may claim damages from you (amongst other remedies).
Clearance Searches: In addition to registering a trade mark, Briffa can undertake a clearance search in which we review possible oppositions to a trade mark application that you are considering making. This will give you a clearer idea on that trade marks already out there and if we think there is a risk that your application will be opposed. This can be a useful exercise, especially when registering a trade mark in multiple classes and jurisdictions.
Whatever path you choose to take, all roads eventually lead to Briffa, but it is best to consult us from the start so we can make the journey for your business as smooth as possible. We have a team of expert trade mark solicitors on hand to assist with every aspect of your brand protection so just email [email protected] to book a free consultation meeting.
Written by Raj Girn, Solicitor