Protecting your brand

Brand protection is important issue

About brand protection and branding

Nowadays the brand of the company or product is one of the most valuable assets of the business. A good brand is not only memorable, but it generates positive perceptions of the company. The brand promises something, and consumers or other companies rely on that promise. The brand is not aimed only at outsiders but also within the company. A good brand attracts more potential employees and it motivates the current employees along with the company’s vision and values.

While brand is a rather wide concept, the highlight of a brand is always a product or a service. The more unique and distinguishable the concept of the product or service is, the better. Despite the size of the company, protecting the brand of products or services is always important in order to enforce your intellectual property rights. By registering the key elements of your brands you can ensure that your hard work developing your product/service and building your brand does not go to waste. There has been a rise in counterfeit goods around the world over the years but also third parties who try to use the goodwill value of a known brand in order boost their own sales. Therefore protecting your brand is more important than ever before. Registering a trademark that represents your product or service is the best way for being able to enforce your rights to full extent.

How to register a trademark?

Trademark can be a word, sound, colour, multimedia mark, symbol, logo or a combination of the before mentioned. Multimedia marks combine image and sound. Therefore you could consider registering the company jingle, animations or even short video clips. Especially telecom companies have registered quite a few multimedia marks that they use in tv ads on a regular basis. A trademark cannot be offensive, descriptive, misleading, non-distinctive or common or similar than other registered or unregistered trademarks. You can register a trademark nationally (for example in Finland), in certain parts of the world with one application (for example in EU) or internationally. International filings can be made through the local lawyers or by using the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) centralized application system. The costs vary depending on your strategy. Applying your trademark in multiple countries regarding multiple products and services is much more costly than registering your trademark in few countries in the field of few products and services. Remember that you can utilize your innovation voucher (provided by Business Finland) in trademark registrations!

Registering a trademark doesn’t mean exclusivity to use your registered trademark regarding all the products and services but only regarding those that you have sought protection for in your trademark application. Therefore it is important to pay attention to the scope of the trademark application.

Once you have secured your trademark, it is important to collect evidence of the use, and also monitor the use of similar or confusing marks.  As a part of your IP strategy you should have an also enforcement strategy in place. This allows you to act fast whenever there are any infringements against your trademark. These infringements might include selling counterfeit goods in online stores around the world or for example using similar logo implying that their products/services are connected to your brand or otherwise taking advantage of your brand in other ways. Trademark does not protect your idea or the content of your product or service. If your product has a certain design that you wish to protect, it could be possible to protect that with a design right.

More information on protecting your intellectual property rights, please contact us!

Text and additional information: Maria Storey, Associate, +358 40 743 2222, [email protected]