Being a brand supports businesses to gain recognition, and therefore efforts need to be put in to defend it. However, there are multiple instances where businesses encounter some gaps in securing their brand to block any unauthorized use.
The first step of brand protection includes securing your brand by choosing for trademark registration. Your brand is your business’s identity, and a trademark shields all the aspects of the brand that are unique and specific to the company. When a business registers the Trademark, it legitimately makes sure its protection by blocking any abuse by a third party.
One of the principal compliances is Trademark Registration. But there are several other ways through which a startup can start its mission to be completely compliant. The first step is to register a business by providing it with a distinct name. This is necessary to build a unique identity and assist marketers in advertising the offerings with brand association.
Not every startup utilizes the company name to interact with their customers directly. In such circumstances, it is not advised to trademark the company name. However, if the company name and brand name are identical, e.g., Nike, then it makes a lot of sense to do so. There are numerous ways through which a startup can manage or prevent unauthorized usage of its brand.
Here are a few of the primary steps one can take for your brand protection:
A. Secure your Intellectual Property
If one is to analyze all the branding components that a startup can trademark, then it involves patterns, colors, tagline, design, logo, etc.
1. Trademark your Logo
A trustworthy business professional service provider can help you to trademark your logo – this will make sure that it is protected and restrict other brands and even your competitors from using it.
2. Trademark the Tagline
While it is not likely to simply trademark the arrangement or phrase of words, it is possible to trademark the tagline. For it to be trademarked, the tagline necessitates being creative and distinctive. It has to be powerful enough to support the brand to build a secondary meaning. For instance, Nike’s “Just Do It” is unique and demonstrates the brand’s distinct philosophy. Therefore, it is a trademarked tagline.
Protectable Color Mark
The legal representation of the Trademark does not involve colors. Since 1995 it is possible to trademark a single color or a combination of colors. This consists of trademarking of packaging, product color, and even service if it helps to present source identification and not a simple present for decoration.
B. Copyright Branding Elements
One of the steps to protect brand identity is to copyright the creation. This allows business owners to lawfully prevent other businesses from creating a copied work, reuse, distribute, or even regenerate it. For any other company to utilize such marks, it requires permission from the authorized owner. The business owner can profit from the brand by licensing or assigning the Trademark to a third party. The idea is to shield only a few of the subject matter expressions and not only the ideas.
C. Claiming Prior Use
If your startup brand gets involved in a conflict with another brand on having simply implemented for the similar or same Trademark, then claiming the prior use will be able to provide your brand with an upper hand. There are cases where few brands have won by claiming prior use. Typically, two or more such trademark applications are compared.
Along with the application, the startup can put forward the evidence of prior use to present the first usage of the Trademark. It is because the brand showcasing the original user has a higher chance to use that mark exclusively. In case the brand name is not currently put to practice, then one requires applying for the Trademark below ‘proposed to be used’ section.
Startups seeking to turn into brands should remain watchful to safeguard intellectual property that is absolutely essential for your brand protection.