First of all, let me congratulate you for coming up with your own brand! You are probably reading this in order to prevent future legal battles and issues with regard to your branding. I tell you, you made the right decision! Building your own brand is one thing. Maintaining and protecting it from external factors which can either take advantage of it or destroy it is another, and it requires your prudence and action NOW.
The best way to protect your brand is to undergo legal procedures. You can ensure that your brand will not be used or copied by other aspiring businesses if you add legal boundaries to it.
Applying for a trademark to your brand – whether it will be on your name, logo or slogan – will give you exclusive rights to its usage. When you have exclusive rights to your brand, you have the right to call out anyone or any business which will try and imitate or use your brand to further their own business. Thus, it gives you exclusive rights. So how does it protect your brand?
The owner of a trademark can sue or forward legal action for unauthorized usage of his brand or for using something similar to the brand. The owner of the trademark can raise a legal issue against anyone or any business which creates an almost identical product, name, tagline, or packaging to his brand. Trademarking encourages businesses to be cautious with their actions and obtain the necessary authority or license, in case they would want to use someone’s trademark in their campaign.
You can formally apply for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), or you can attach the symbol ‘TM’ to your name, logo or tagline. Although attaching ‘TM’ can never substitute the security and protection with formally registering your trademark to USPTO. In case you want detailed explanations on how to apply and register for a trademark, you can read through USPTO’s website.
However, there are rules in trademarking. You can only trademark a name, logo, tagline or packaging if it is unique. For example, you cannot trademark a name which is used as a common word to describe your line of business. However, you can trademark a commonly used name if it has nothing to do with the kind of business you are in, given that no one has been using such name before you.
Having a lawyer can help you protect, not just your brand, but your business. It is best to engage the services of an Intellectual Property Rights Lawyer and seek his legal advice. He can give you the ins and outs of protecting your brand. He can help you with the necessary documents and other requirements which may be needed to further your registration and application. Not all applications are approved by USPTO. With the help of a lawyer, you are sure to secure all the necessary requirements and research before going for the application.
Aside from legal protection, you can protect your brand by being vigilant and aware of your environment – the business industry you are in. You have to make sure that no one is using your brand only to destroy your image or reputation. Or you have to make sure that no one has an identical mark as you have which may confuse people from thinking it comes from your company. You can do these things by using smart tools.
Create an alert for your name, tagline, design or your content through Google Alerts. Every time there is a possible violation of infringement rights online, you are alerted. You can easily check out the website and see if you need to resort to legal remedies.
You need to use your business name, logo, tagline or packaging frequently in your ads, social media posts, and marketing campaigns in order to establish ownership and boundaries to your brand. This will also help you if you still haven’t applied or register for a trademark yet. Using your brand in your marketing campaigns and public posts can help you secure and get the approval of your application.
Company policy and contracts
Make sure to include in your contracts with your employees and company policy that anything that is used by your business cannot be used for their personal ventures. If ever they are likely to use something from your company, they should secure authority from you. This way, you are protecting anything used in your business which contributes to the build up of your brand. These can include content, design, diagrams, and campaigns.
Protecting your brand is a way of maintaining your stand and position in the industry. You might have built yourself a strong brand, however, you need to protect it in order to not damage its image and reputation. If you want your brand to last as long as you are in business, then make use of these ways to protect it.