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Briefings > The business case for trade mark registration

Why should a business bother with investing in trade marks? What is the sound business case?

If a business has invested in a product or service, with financial outlays for research and development, design and product improvement, marketing and sales, and more, then the identity of the final product, with all this investment, should be protected so that the public always associates the sign or signs that identify your product with your company. The brand you develop ensures repeat purchases, customer loyalty and customer advocacy. A registered trade mark is the most effective way of protecting your brand identity from those seeking to ride on your hard-fought successes and reputation. It stops others from copying or counterfeiting your products, and even using confusingly similar trade marks for the same or similar products.

In law, it is true, there can be other ways of stopping unscrupulous competitors, especially suing for 'passing off'. But having a registered trade mark is the easiest and most direct way of enforcing your rights. And it avoids costly litigation. It tells competitors to 'keep off your grass' in a polite but firm way. And that makes good business sense. Stakeholders also want to see that management is taking intellectual property protection seriously.

If you are serious about your business and the name(s) under which you trade, then an unregistered trade mark should be converted to a registered one as soon as possible. It is not improbable that a later user of the same or similar mark could even stop you from using your own mark that you have legitimately been using if he/she has got it registered first!

Why bother investing resources in a registered trade mark? Legal protection by means of registration is the best, quickest and most cost-effective way of protecting the unique way you have of identifying your products or services in the market place. You can use your rights to stop others using anything similar which might cause confusion or make you lose potential customers.

Trade marks are also considered personal property - like a car or house - that gives your business a certain value. This value could be a sizeable percentage of the business's total market value, especially if your products or services under the brand are successful.

If you are serious about your business, get serious about registering a trade mark!

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