Safeguarding Your Brand? Avoid Intellectual Property Landmines
Brands are indispensable assets for companies in today’s crowded world cluttered with innumerable businesses of all types. Brands are infact how the world perceives you. They tend to be immensely difficult to come up with as well as to continuously cultivate. Thus, in order for the efforts and resources put into brands to not go in vain, it’s imperative to safeguard them in every possible way.
It’s quite easy to fall into the legal traps involving brands. This is why BrandBucket talks about the 6 commonly made mistakes involving this valuable intellectual property which you should stay miles away from.
- Agree in writing
You might want to launch your brand as quickly as possible, not to forget as inexpensively as well. This might coax you into taking help from a friend or relative for issues such as tagline creation or logo designs. However, when you aren’t hiring experts or professional vendors, you may often forget having it all written down in contracts. Having a written agreement always helps, no matter how petty the task is, because it gives you the copyright and prevents others from making illegitimate demands.
- Comfort with copyrights
It’s easy to miss copyrights amid all the legal issues cropping up when branding your business. However, copyright is one of the easiest protections you can get for your brand assets. It’s relatively quick and simple to file. While many people still believe in the myth that copyrights are only for physical creations, the reality is that they are able to protect intellectual property as well such as codes and designs. But make sure you are extremely specific and detailed when it comes to copyrights.
- Develop with distinctiveness
If you think having general and common words as a brand name can help people recognize and recall your company easily, then you need to step away from this misconception. Being vague and general will only push your brand down to the pit of innumerable forgotten brands that ignored the power of distinctiveness. You need to be distinct and unique when naming your brand if you want to pass the trademark law as well. The name of your brand should be unique to your business only, so that customers remember your business by it. You can hire professionals to make sure that your chosen name is not too vague or close to being a duplicate of some other brand.
- Protect with patent
The traditional rule says that your ideas should be patented. After all, a patent can allow you a monopoly for around 20 years which is generally good enough to reap all the benefits from your innovation. However acquiring a patent isn’t as easy as it sounds and can actually take months or even years. It’s also quite expensive to find out and sue others infringing your patent. There’s no point waiting that long or wasting so many resources especially with no guarantee if your idea will indeed turn into a successful business or not. Instead, opt for focusing on simple and quick trade secret law which only requires you to keep your idea a secret, without any trouble of filings at all.
- Secure with domains
Although having the domains same as brand names helps, domains can’t replace brand names and vice versa. Thus, if you secure a domain with a particular name and assume that you can use the same as your brand name too, get rid of the assumption. Why? This is because many businesses that do not have dot.com websites for their businesses do have trademarked brand names. And you do not want them to be suing you for using their trademarked names as your domain name.
- Wary with names
Most people get excited when naming their products or companies. They can’t wait to pick a fancy name and start selling their products or services. Don’t fall into this trap. Make sure you are careful enough when selecting names for your brand. You must ensure that no one else is using your chosen name for any business purpose anywhere else. For this, all you need to do is perform an extensive search on Google on your selected names as well as check with the local, state and national patent, trademark and registration offices, databases and their websites. Conducting such searches before launching your brand can help you avoid hugely expensive legal battles which can follow if you are found using someone else’s business name, knowingly or unknowingly. You don’t want to end up having to change your desired name after putting loads of money on branding and brand awareness to your potential customers.
These are six simple ways to protect your brand from getting entangled in legal troubles. Simply stay away from the myths and misconceptions and be a bit careful here and there and you will be good to go!