When starting out it can seem like a large expense to Trademark your company name or company logo but it’s something you should be doing if you want to protect your brand and invest in the future of the business. As a business grows, it may look to set up a franchise network, become a multi-site business or sell the business. In these situations, protection and exploitation of the business brand will be imperative.
I’m Registered with Companies House, Does That Count?
No. Registering with Companies House only ensures registration of the exact wording of your company name with the Registrar of Companies in the UK. Competing businesses can register a similar name at Companies House providing nobody else has already taken the name. A competitor may already hold a trademark or an unregistered right in your company name before you register. In this situation, the holder of the trademark may look to enforce infringement proceedings against you if you are using their trademark without a licence.
I Bought the Dot Com Address, Does That Count?
No. Owning a website does not give you ownership over the name. As above, if a third party business already holds a registered trademark for their business name or logo they can enforce this right against those who infringe the trademark, which will include using that protected wording within a domain name.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Trademark?
- If your brand, logo or business name are or become the reason why clients continue to buy goods or services from your business then protection of that goodwill makes clear commercial sense. If you do not protect your brand and a competitor starts using the same or similar brand for their competing business there is the risk they could benefit from your goodwill. Your remedy without a trademark would be to try and establish an action in passing off which is a much sterner test to prove than infringement of a registered trademark.
- You are able to show your clients that your brand name or logo is legally protected by attaching the ® to the logo or notifying your clients in your advertising that your name or logo is a registered trademark of your business.
- When a business is sold, any potential buyer will want to know they have the right to carry on the business name. A registered trademark is an asset that holds a value and can be sold to the buyer. Without a registered trademark, only assurances can be made in the purchase contract which will not afford the buyer with the same level of protection.
If you would like some guidance on getting a Trademark for your business contact our solicitors in Bristol on 0117 962 1205.