Trade marks are a key staple in the toolkit companies have to protect the goodwill in their business – all too often we are advising clients in circumstances where there is a contentious element (i.e. someone is infringing their brand) but there are other, equally important reasons, you should consider securing a trade mark registration.
One of these is that they help quantify the value of your IP – an asset that can be notoriously difficult to value otherwise. This can help potential investors choose to invest and secure funding or to help value your company when it comes time to exit.
Take the recent example of FanDuel, a leading online gaming platform. Founded in Edinburgh in 2009, FanDuel has become one of the most popular online fantasy sports websites and has featured in a number of publications like Bloomberg, Forbes and Sports Illustrated.
FanDuel recently put a number of its trade marks (in the UK, the US) up for security for a loan package. We can only speculate on how much was actually raised but the majority of pundits are putting the amount in millions.
This case serves as a key reminder that trade marks can not only serve to protect your brand but be active assets in their own right. Many clients fail to realise that the ‘property’ element of ‘intellectual property’ means your rights can be leveraged in many similar ways to real property.
It is worth pointing out that the value of your IP can be subject to diminution if it is not managed carefully, for instance:
- Design, trade mark and patent registrations may lapse irretrievably if renewal fees are not paid on time.
- A copyright, unregistered trade mark or design right will become virtually worthless if a third party successfully claims that use of the right involves an infringement of the third party’s own IP right.
- Equally, the value of an IP right can fall if its owner fails to sue others who infringe it (such as the manufacturers of counterfeit goods or distributors of bootleg copies).
These are all additional services which we are able to assist with and go to show the management of your IP is just as important as having it registered in the first place.