Maximizing Your Brand’s Potential
What does your trademark portfolio look like?
Businesses need an effective, clear answer to that question but a shocking number do not have one. Many don’t think about their trademarks at all until one of their brands is copied. Some get trademarks registered but don’t investigate to identify copycats and force them to rebrand. Many do not keep an organized, intentional trademark portfolio document, so they do not examine their portfolio until it’s time to sell the business, at which point it’s often too late to improve and refine the portfolio for maximum value.
An ineffective (or invisible) trademark portfolio costs businesses time and money. How much cash are you leaving on the table?
Know What You’re Protecting
Your trademarks should be strategic. What outcome do you want to achieve by registering each trademark? Consider what you need the trademark protection to do. Clearly identifying the protection you need allows you to register trademarks that will work for you when you need them. It also helps you determine the ROI (Return on Investment) of each trademark so you can avoid wasting money on trademarks that are not going to deliver the protection you need.
Your business needs proactive measures as opposed to reactive ones, and understanding what protections you have and what protections you need equips you to protect your valuable business assets – your branding.
For example, if your only trademark registration is your logo, then it will not be as effective at stopping someone who is using a similar brand name with a different logo. And if you use your trademark on a wide range of goods and services (milk, cheese, lunchmeat, fresh juice and fresh fruits) but you only have it registered for a single type of goods (milk), then you may have a hard time to stop someone from using a similar brand for lunchmeat, juice, fruits or even cheese. It is important to think through what kinds of copying you want to stop before you apply to register your trademarks.
Refine Your Portfolio
Trying to capture multiple brand elements in one trademark registration may seem cost-effective, but it is counter productive and results in much less protection when it’s time to enforce your trademark. As a result, it’s a “penny wise, pound foolish” approach to trademarks. Aim to refine your portfolio by using a strategic collection of registrations that work together to protect your brand elements as opposed to one “all-encompassing” registration. A strategic trademark portfolio clearly defines your trademark rights in flexible, strategic bites that fit multiple enforcement scenarios.
In the moment, it may be appealing to move forward with fewer trademark registrations. However, the truth is you save more money by having a well-planned collection of trademarks that work together to effectively reach multiple enforcement situations. The extra money spent on additional registrations saves you tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees enforcing those marks and saves you the embarrassment and annoyance of confused customers complaining about products or services delivered by a copycat.
Expand Your Product Range
Having a strong portfolio of trademarks and a loyal customer base can help you expand your product range by licensing some of your trademarks to companies who want to sell their products and services to your loyal customer base. Trademark licensing deals allow a different company to use your trademark on products they produce and sell, allowing you to reach markets you would not otherwise reach, in return for a percentage of sales revenue – a “royalty.” This, in turn, expands potential profits and income channels available to your business. The growth potential of having more branded products on the market can help startups to go from a local level to regional, nationwide, and even global success.
Uphold Your Trademarks Over Time
Trademarks require careful attention over time. Establishing your trademarks is the beginning. Upholding that protection means combatting infringement attempts quickly with regular enforcement searches (“policing”), cease and desist letters and other legal avenues.
At IP Works Law, we believe in innovation and work with clients of all sizes to power the ideas that drive businesses. We optimize our services for startups and small-to-midsize businesses to ensure every client gets the professional and dedicated service they deserve. We even offer a trademark policing and enforcement package with fixed monthly fees so you can get the most out of your trademarks without throwing off your cash flow.
Whether you need help with trademark registration, stopping infringement, or refining your business’ established trademark portfolio, contact our team to get started.
POWER YOUR IDEAS ®
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