My friend received a letter from a lawyer earlier this year demanding that he stopped trading under his business name. My friend is a food entrepreneur and has worked very hard to establish a unique and fast-growing business in London.
His business philosophy is simple. Serve good food, good drinks and create a vibrant and friendly atmosphere where people can eat and hang-out. He started out on his own in a trendy part of London and now has branches in various parts of the city. Apart from his winning business philosophy, his business had a winning brand! His logo was smart and simple. The name was catchy, easy to remember and describing the essence of the business.
Unbeknownst to my friend, another business opened up in London with a similar name and brand.
My friend tried to fight the other business but in the end decided it was not worth the cost of the legal battle his competitor was threatening.
In short, my friend should have protected his business name by trade marking his brand.
How can you stop this from happening to you?
You must register your trade mark!
As business owners, we work very hard at building our brand. However, we should also ensure that we protect our brand.
According to the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, a trade mark is "any sign capable of graphical representation which can distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from those of another". It can inlcude words, names, signatures, logos, numbers, signs and designs.
In the UK, trade marks are registered on a first come first served basis. It is important therefore to register your trade mark in the early stages or as part of the product or business launch.
The cost of registering your trade mark is a fraction of the cost of the legal action that may ensue as a result of unauthorised use of your brand.
If you are already trading and have not registered your trade mark as of yet, we advise that you do so as soon as possible to protect your brand and ensure continued business success.
Use a Professional
I recommend that you seek the advice of a legal professional to protect your brand. At Posada & Co, we can help you from the outset by:
- Conducting the necessary searches to establish whether you can register yur brand;
- Advising you on the right classes for your trade mark;
- Preparing the trade mark application;
- Advising you on any issues that may arise as a result of your application (e.g. someone may object to your application).
For assistance with protecting your brand, contact our Commercial team at Posada & Co.