What Is A Brand?

Your brand is the name, the images and the “look and feel” you use to describe your business, yourself or your goods and services.
Brands are important because they form part of the awareness that consumers/buyers have of your good or service. If your brand is associated with a good (for example McDonalds and burgers or Apple and phones, ipads etc) you can differentiate yourself from other players in the market. Your brand is essentially a measure of the goodwill you have established in your good or service.

Brand Protection – Why?

Given the importance of brands, it is surprising how many traders in our market place do very little to look after or protect their brand. Without protection, traders face the risk of “copycat” competitors ripping off the key elements of the brand and using them as their own. Not only does this cause confusion in the minds of consumers it will probably result in a loss of sales or new opportunities.

Brand Protection – How?

Brand protection refers to safeguarding your brand. One of the simplest and most common methods of protection is to register a trademark. A valid and registered trademark can protect a business from copycats, counterfeiting and other types of infringement.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a legally protected mark that identifies your unique goods or service. The owner of a distinctive mark can apply to receive trademark protection. However, to maintain trademark protection you to must continue to use the mark in your field of business. That is, you can’t just register a cool name and sit on it.
If you are commencing a new business or product or service, you need to think through the style and concept of the brand and those elements which need to be protected. Ideally, you should create a brand which is unique and not similar to other traders in the market place. The more unique the brand, the more likely that the trademark will be both registered and capable of being protected.

The creation of a great brand capable of trade mark protection requires a few key elements, they are:

  1. Don’t use a descriptive name
    There is no use in creating a brand with generic or descriptive terms. You cannot protect names or symbols that are common to the trade. For example, an ‘orange seller’ cannot register ‘orange seller’ as a trade mark. You will receive strong protection for a trademark that creatively and indirectly suggests the nature of your business, products, or services. Some examples of good trademarks include words like “Apple” and “Viagra”. None of these marks are descriptive of their good or service. In the case of Apple, they have created an arbitrary mark where an English word used has been used in a new context. In the case of “Viagra” they have created a fanciful mark which is distinctive due to the use of a creative or fictitious name.
  2.  Create a mark or brand that is both visually and aurally different
    You need to think back to what brand you (as a consumer) remember. Typically, the brand use simple words (for example, “Nike”) in an easy to read and remember style (that is legible type font and size). Almost as important is the sound of the mark. Simple words that are easy to say are remembered are easier than more complex multi syllable words. Again, “Apple”, “Nike”, “Rolex” and “Coca Cola” are great examples.
  3. Use Colour Schemes to differentiate your Mark
    The more unique the colour scheme employed the more that a brand will be both memorable and capable of being registered as a mark. Think of the colour purple and the Cadbury brand comes to mind.

Next Steps

After creating the brand, you need to register the trademark. If you have registered the mark, then to protect your trademark from infringement and counterfeiting, you need to make sure your mark is not used by others, and you need to bring legal charges against those who use your mark without permission.

Once you start using your trademark, you will need to:
• Using the mark correctly and regularly;
• Keeping a lookout for potential counterfeiting or infringement;
• Taking action against those who don’t respect your rights to the trademark.

Take Out Points

Our firm acts those who are creating great brands and looking to ensure their protection. Feel free to call if would like our assistance.
For more information contact:
Heath Adams Director-Lawyer (t) 9 635 3404 (e) heath@adamslawyers.com.au

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