Protecting intellectual property

words: Mark Lello, UK200Group
IP protection

Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for protections that can be registered to safeguard your creative designs, branding and commercial goodwill. IP law deters other businesses from copying or taking unfair advantage of your work and benefitting from your hard-earned brand.

Trademarks can help protect assets that describe or identify your business such as the business name, logo, or sign; for example, the apple symbol representing Apple Inc, or the yellow ‘M’ that signifies McDonald’s. As shown by these examples, trademarks can become a very valuable asset associated with quality and customer expectations in a product or service. While there is no obligation to register a company name as a trademark there are a great many benefits to doing so and registration is simple and relatively inexpensive. These benefits include:

1) Building brand value

When starting a new business one of the principal steps is to pick a name and a logo. These become crucial as they will represent the business and become the hallmark of the brand. Then all the work or products sold under that name or logo will build the brand. Slowly as the brand grows, so will public awareness. A strong brand and public awareness can be very influential factors to any potential investors. If a business has trademarked its name, key products or services, they have protected their brand, and this provides increased security for a potential investor. It would also add clarity during any merger or franchising of the business as it would have a positive impact on the business’ perceived value.

2) Avoiding unwanted conflict

When a business fails to register their trademark, they leave themselves open to the risk of another business potentially profiting off of their branding, goodwill and reputation. This other business may purport to be linked to the original successful brand in the hopes of generating more profit through the false connection. This could damage the original business’ reputation and goodwill with customers and would undoubtedly be a hindrance if they wanted to expand.

3) Protection of your business

By registering your trademark, you give yourself legal protection against anyone who wants to use the trademark without your authorisation. The registration effectively prevents others from imitating your business or pretending to be affiliated with you. A further benefit of this is that a profit could be made by granting others permission to use your registered trademark through licensing or franchising.

Registering any IP is an investment in a growing asset class that won’t depreciate over time and research has shown that when businesses invest in their IP, on average they generate 21% more revenue. Now is the perfect time to register any potential IP because the Intellectual Property Office has recently launched a new scheme to help stimulate growth of IP in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme, called “IP Access”, grants up to £5,000 of funding to encourage eligible SME businesses to develop and register their intellectual property. This could be used to cover IP management, valuation, licensing as well as professional and legal fees for IP services, however it would not cover the office registration fees.

This scheme could allow you to get invaluable advice on registering trademarks or applying for patents that could help protect and grow your business. Applications for the IP Access scheme remain open until March 31, 2022 so now is the time to capitalise on the grant. At Parker Bullen we have considerable experience assisting businesses with their intellectual property needs and would be eligible to help under the grant. For more information on how we can help utilise the grant to help protect your business please contact us.

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