The startup new to the scene and the veteran company that’s been around the block more than a few times have one important thing in common: Above all else, your brand is your most important asset there is.
Your brand is more than just a name, a logo, tagline or other creative elements. It encapsulates your unique identity, setting you apart in a marketplace teeming with competitors, and it serves as the vehicle through which you cultivate deep, lasting relationships with your customers. And it’s ultimately something that can be easily snatched away without the right legal protections in place.
Why should brand protection and safeguarding its institutional value be such an integral part of your business strategy?
To Prevent Customer Confusion
If another company uses your brand name, logo, imagery or other trademarks, it can create confusion for your customers. They may purchase the other company’s products thinking they are yours — or worse, if a copycat company produces an inferior product, customers may conflate your brand with theirs and lose trust in your business. Trademark registration gives you the exclusive rights to use your brand identity in your industry. It’s your first line of defense against brand infringement.
To Build Brand Recognition
Consistent, ongoing use of your legally protected brand name, images and messaging builds recognition over time. When customers see your brand, they immediately connect it with your products or services. This translates into repeat sales and referrals, invaluable elements for continued business growth. Legal brand protection ensures you reap the full benefits of this brand equity — and that you, and only you, profit from it.
To Communicate Quality and Value
A protected brand, whether it’s through copyrights, patents or trademarks, communicates that your business is serious, established and committed to consistent quality. It turns first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who develop a preference for you over the competition. Your brand is a promise to deliver the same value and experience whenever customers interact with your company. Brand protection maintains that promise.
To Cultivate Investor Confidence
Investors and stakeholders are more likely to invest in businesses that demonstrate a commitment to protecting their brand’s IP. Brand protection measures provide assurance that your business is safeguarding its intangible assets, rather than leaving them lax, significantly impacting its valuation. Potential partners want to see that you have taken proactive steps to secure your brand’s future, as this reflects responsible risk management and long-term growth potential.
Crafting a Brand Protection Strategy
Creating an effective brand protection strategy is a multi-faceted endeavor that warrants careful consideration and planning. Here are the fundamental steps to building a robust brand protection strategy:
1. Comprehensive Trademark Search: Begin by conducting a thorough trademark search. This ensures that your brand name, logo, slogan or other marketing or branding aren’t already in use by another entity. An experienced IP law firm can be invaluable in this phase, helping you navigate the complexities of trademark searches to safeguard your brand’s uniqueness.
2. Certify Your Trademarks: Once you’ve confirmed that your brand is distinctive, proceed to register your trademarks with the relevant authorities, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This registration bestows upon you the exclusive rights to utilize these marks and empowers you to enforce those rights through legal channels.
3. Vigilant Monitoring: Putting in the work to register a trademark doesn’t mean setting it and forgetting it. Continuously monitoring the marketplace to ensure that no one is infringing upon your brand is a must in order to continue protecting your brand and defending your rights. This, through the help of legal expertise, necessitates online brand monitoring and keeping a vigilant eye on your competitors. Swift legal action is vital if you discover any infringement.
4. Educate Your Team: Though trusting all your legal dealings and matters to a trademark attorney is imperative, the importance of brand protection shouldn’t be confined to the legal team alone. Every member of your organization, from marketing professionals to product developers, should understand the intrinsic value of your brand and their role in preserving it.
Brand Protection: A Business Imperative
You invested significant time and resources into building your brand. It represents the core of your business model. Brand protection allows you to take decisive legal action against counterfeiting and any other forms of brand infringement.
As fervent proponents of innovation and ingenuity, Patterson Thuente is steadfast in our commitment to helping you protect your most valuable asset — your brand. Our attorneys and staff hail from several multifaceted, interdisciplinary backgrounds and are well-versed in shaping IP strategies tailored to your goals and preferences, providing bespoke solutions that cater to your distinct needs.
Ready to back up your branding? Contact us today to get started.