Fiona Boswell

Head of Franchising and Commercial Services

Franchising


Top 10 Brand Choosing Tips

Fiona Boswell

Choosing the right brand for a product or business is vital as your brand name can be a valuable company asset capable of being commercially exploited in its own right.

However many businesses typically take a cavalier attitude to choosing a brand name deciding that a companies house search for availability is sufficient to avoid prior use concerns.

To avoid the expense and hassle of engaging in a rebrand exercise follow our top ten tips to securing the right brand set out below:

1. Be original
Avoid using any elements of competitor brands. If you provide the same or similar
Goods and services you risk infringing prior rights and receiving a sharply worded solicitors letter demanding that you change. The cost of which you will end up paying for.

2. Be clever
Don't choose a brand name that describes what you do. Descriptive brand names are harder to protect as registered trademarks and can be challenged much easier.

Good brands are those entirely different to what you do e.g. Apple or EE.

3. Do your research
Conduct public searches for brand availability. Search the IPO, internet, companies house, trade press, trade shows, domain name registries. Check if the brand you plan to use is already in use by anyone else for the same or similar services to what you plan to provide.

4. Protect the brand
Once you are sure the brand is not in use by others protect it as a registered trademark. Registered trademarks give brands far greater protection than relying on the laws of passing off.

The monopoly right of having a registered trademark means that you can challenge others that may copycat your brand.

5. Manage adverse search results
You should investigate the strength of other prior used brands that you find which predate your brand. If the brand is registered investigate whether it is being used. If it isn't registered again investigate where it is being used. Does it okay have a local presence be or reputation. D the scope of registration far wider than it is actually being used for.

6. Protect the brand everywhere

In addition to registering a distinctive, cleared brand as a trademark you should also register it as a domain name, secure companies house registration and at social media accounts.

If you don't someone else will although a pre-registered trademark does give you the right to challenge a bad faith domain registration you have to take action to do this - which is another time consuming and potentially costly exercise that can scupper a product launch.

7. Keep schtum
If you have a great brand idea be careful who you mention it to. Ensure that you have NDA's in place for any sensitive discussions.

8. Secure Ownership
If someone else is designing your brand ensure that you own the intellectual property rights in it and legally have the right to register it as your trademark. In law the creator owns what they create irrespective of the fact that you are paying for it unless they expressly legally transferred ownership to you.

9. Get the spec right
Think about what you will use the brand for when registering. You need to get the balance right between making the classification. narrow but at the same time avoid including elements that are way beyond your planned use.

10. Police your brand
Once you have registered your brand conduct regular checks to ensure that others are not using it adversely. Take firm action if it is being infringed. Get advice and a firm solicitors letter to assert your rights. This can result in stopping unruly competitors or alternatively result in a lucrative licensing revenue steam.

If this all sounds like a lot of hassle we can help you with this process with our fixed fee brand clearance service. Let us save you the stress of choosing the wrong brand. If you would like more information about our BrandCheck please email fboswell@fraserbrown.com

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