Whether you are operating your business as a sole trader, partnership, LLP or limited company you will have given it a name and may well have developed a logo or even a slogan, which together will be used to distinguish your business from your competitors.
A considerable amount of time and money can be spent creating your brand identity and developing the right name and “look” for your business. It would be frustrating to say the least for a third party to then come out of the woodwork to tell you that they already use that name and/or object to your use of the same. If that were to happen it could be a costly exercise to rectify the position. For example, there would be: the costs of settlement including any compensation and the legal costs incurred in reaching a settlement; the loss arising from the possibility of shredding all materials that contained the third party’s business name/logo; the costs of developing a new brand and new print materials.
To minimise the risk of incurring such costs consider taking the following action:
- Investigation : Is the name available or has someone else got there first?
- Trademark Registration for your name, logo and/or slogan;
- Keep a watch, through our trademark watching service, to ensure no one uses your brand;
- Take action if anyone seeks to copy your marks;
- If necessary we can assist settle or litigate to protect any trademark issues
We provide a “one-stop shop” so if your intellectual property needs. If you would like advice on protecting your business brand and trademark registration, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Passing off checks:
Companies often register its trademark, but then fail to monitor the market to ensure no one is using this mark. It can cause companies significant loss if a third party diverts clients away by passing-off and confusing clients as to who they are giving custom. If a new company uses your name, colours and/or marketing materials clients can easily assume they are engaging in your services or it could lead to reputation damage if that third party creates problems and complaints in the market.
To avoid this companies are advised to instruct a Trademark watching service to regularly monitor the specific market its trademark has been registered and tackle any infringement immediately, before any losses or problems arise. We engage a service company here for our clients that handle this service on a fixed competitive rate.
Passing off – infringing your mark.
Immediately, upon knowledge of someone using your logo, name or slogan you should act.We would first check that they are infringing your mark by trading in a class which has been secured by your registration and in the territory registered. Correspondence would be sent immediately to warn them of their infringement and serve notice to immediately cease and seek to resolve the matter with us amicably. If a settlement cannot be reached then an urgent injunction followed by a claim for damages can be issued. This will seek to have them remove the trademark from their website, paperwork and offices, notify clients immediately of this change and provide information we request to assess any losses or damages this infringement may of caused you.After assessing your losses, such as diverted business, we would seek to recover this, if not by settlement, through a County or High Court Claim.We have experience of resolving this issues amicably and in a cost efficient manner, but for those that cannot be resolved, our litigation team have a proven track record of conducting successful litigation in this specialist area.
Whats in a name? Quite a bit as it happens! Whether you are operating your business as a sole trader, partnership, LLP or limited company you will have given it a name and may well have developed a logo or slogan, which together will be used to distinguish your business from your competitors.