The importance of trade mark registration – even if your brand is still a baby
So I’ve just had baby – strictly speaking it was actually my wife who had the baby, I mainly just cheered her on and let her squeeze my hand. It’s our first and so naturally we’ve been obsessing over every detail of our new daughter’s upbringing, desperately trying to ensure that we haven’t forgotten to do something which is actually vitally important.
One of the first things that we had to do was register her birth. This was a weird process which involved a visit to the local Registrar (someone who takes their job incredibly seriously) and carefully checking and double-checking the spelling of the name on the birth certificate (before you ask, it’s not a wired name like Satsuma or Table, it’s actually pretty normal).
Prior to the registration our daughter was living completely off-grid, unknown to the powers that be and with absolutely no official means of identifying herself. Although, for some, this might be an ideal existence, it quickly becomes an issue if you need to accompany your parents on their long-awaited trip to France or persuade a GP that you’re worthy of some jabs. On that basis, the registration was crucially important and not something which could be put on hold (apparently it’s also illegal to not do it within 6 weeks of the birth, so there’s that too).
After being handed the certificate it struck me that there are quite a lot of similarities between registering the name of your child and registering the name of your brand. Both involve formal commitment to a particular name, both grant the owner of that name a credibility which they didn’t previously have and both can cause a huge number of issues if they’re not dealt with quickly.
Often businesses feel that their new brands are too young to warrant registration but in fact this is rarely the case. Making your application early, much like sleeping through the night, is something which should always be a pressing aspiration. Indeed this advice doesn’t just apply to start-ups; you may, for example, be an established brand which has begun trading in new and unprotected jurisdictions, or you may have good multi-country protection for your largest brand but nothing in place for your smaller brands. In light of this, it’s vital that you regularly audit your brand protection and actively look for the gaps. The relatively small upfront cost of a trade mark application is likely to be a big benefit to your business in the long run, making infringement claims easier and increasing the volume of your company assets… so why wait?
If you would like to talk to one of our expert solicitors about trade mark protection and enforcement, please just email: [email protected]
If you’re planning to have a child in the near future, or if you feel that an existing child needs a rebrand, please see below for some naming inspiration (along with the names of some very imaginative parents):
Cricket (Busy Philipps and Marc Silverstein)
Moroccan (Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon)
Blue Ivy (Beyonce and Jay-Z)
Pilot (Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf)
Zolten (Penn and Emily Jillette)