Protecting your intellectual property is essential for introducing a new brand, licensing, entering a new territory or protecting an existing brand.
By Anne Wong
The core forms of IP include trade marks, copyright, designs, as well as patents. Trade marks distinguish your product or services from those of competitors, for example through words, logos, slogans and shapes, which create an invaluable reputation.
Copyright protects literary, musical and artistic works which require an effective protection strategy to ensure enforcement. Design protection relates to the shape and feature of goods and is important in creative industries, as they extend to packaging, decoration and even trade mark logos.
Registering a trade mark ensures that you have the right to prevent others from using the same or a similar mark for identical or similar goods and services. A trade mark registration operates to minimise the risk of challenge or interference, which places you in a dominant position within your industry. However, rights usually go to the first to register, not the first to use, meaning that an application must be filed as soon as possible, as a delay could leave you defending or even losing your brand.
A trade mark or design is identifiable intangible property, the value of which attaches to the reputation of the product or service which can be utilised if the mark is protected. As a form of property, the mark is valuable in the sale of a business and reassures potential buyers and investors that the IP is as secure as possible, making your company more attractive. Also, registration acts as a deterrent to other businesses not to use a mark identical or similar to yours in relation to your products or services. As there are powerful remedies for infringement, registration will ensure that your IP rights are protected. Trade mark registration lasts indefinitely if renewed every 10 years, meaning that registration is excellent value for money in relation to the importance of the asset. Your IP is an important business asset which must be protected in order to exploit its full value.
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