Posted on Tuesday 4 July 2017 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property
Apple, Coca Cola, Nike, Starbucks are all companies that need no explanation on what they do. Why? Because their name alone provides you with all the information you need. Their efficient use of branding and developing their trade mark identity has seen these companies become the most widely recognised businesses in the world.
So, What is it That Have Made These Trade Marks so Powerful?
The Trade Marks Act 1996 defines trade marks as “any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.” With any trade mark consisting of “words (including personal names), designs, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging.”
Once a trade mark is registered, it embodies an exclusive right to the holder for use of the mark for classes of goods or services, granting a certain degree of protection against infringement. A trade mark carries value, it’s used as a marketing tool and through use of licensing can become a huge source of revenue, making it a valuable business asset. A trade marks function is to identify goods and or services for the consumer so that the consumer can identify these goods or services from one entity to that of another. Trade marks act as tools that are necessary for maintaining goodwill and reputation that they acquire through use of their mark. By employing clever marketing and branding strategies a business can establish itself as a powerful, recognised entity. Apple products for example are quickly recognised due to their distinct apple logo, Coca Cola have ascertained their identity with their famous contour bottle shape, emblazoned with its red and white Coca Cola logo.
While companies like these possess powerful trade marks, they have also employed strenuous endeavours and heavy legal actions to maintain protection to their companies’ brand. Despite the negative attention such lawsuits garner, there is no denying the global impact these companies have had and the effective weight of their name.
Even Celebrities use Trade Mark Protection
The rise of celebrity trademarked names is another interesting concept. While the trademarking of stage names and catchphrases from various celebrities is not new, the trademarking of their children’s names is an area which has been gaining momentum in the last number of years. Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé and JayZ being the more popular examples to have garnered media attention.
While many argue that this type of trade mark application is an abuse of intellectual property law and nothing more than a blatant attempt to capitalise on their children, others view it as a clever business decision and a form of brand protection. The explosion of celebrity culture has seen an almost infatuation with who are perceived as famous and media channels are constantly feeding us information to encourage and develop such obsession.
Though many may be quick to dismiss the dominance of celebrity culture, there is no way of ignoring it either. While the companies mentioned earlier have turned their brands into huge commercial success stories and gained worldwide recognition they have in turn spent millions to do so. Celebrities on the other hand have instant yet transient appeal, seeking protection for their brand has become increasingly necessary and as this culture continues their names have become more valuable than we ever thought possible. It in turn echoes the importance of filing for trade mark protection and how valuable your trade mark registration can be, whether you are a start-up company, an established business, a multi-national corporation or even a celebrity.
If trade mark protection for your business or brand is something you would like to know more about, please contact us and we will be happy to schedule a meeting with a member of our trade mark team here at Cruickshank.
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New Trade Mark Reform in Effect from October 1st
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