Brand and Logo Protection
What is the value in a brand, and how does trademark law protect that value?
First, what is a brand? A brand in the broadest sense is the experience of sight, sound, and other feelings that your customers and potential customers associate with your product or service. To truly be a brand, the experience is something specific that must be repeated or appear consistently fixed in the minds of your consumers so that when they have the specific experience they think of your business. To schedule a FREE APPOINTMENT to discuss ways you can protect your brand click here.
I would like to provide a few examples, starting with a simple example and becoming more complex. The first experience is the sight of a logo, a symbol or group of symbols (i.e. words).
See if you recognize the products or services associated with the following symbols:
These are logos or trademarks, and should bring to mind one and only one company if designed and protected correctly. A logo or trademark is only one part of a brand, but it is an important part, the part that can be put on every letterhead, on a building, and can immediately let customers know that once they see this symbol or logo, they should expect the rest of the experience that is the brand. The law considers this an important function of commerce as it serves as the quick and simple identifier. To schedule a FREE APPOINTMENT to discuss ways you can protect and enforce your brand click here.
To understand what a trademark can do for you, first you need to understand what a trademark does for your customers.
You may not be a big fan of the United States Postal Service, or you may think they are great, either way, when you see the logo for the U.S. Post Office on a building, you know with a high degree of accuracy what you can expect to find inside, the services, the level of service, the look and feel and layout of the inside of the building. If you are certain that the United State Postal Service cannot give you the service you desire, you will not go inside the building. For example if you want to order business cards and have them shipped to your employee in a different state, the United States Post Office is not going to fill your needs. If, on the other hand you need to send a letter by certified mail to a P.O. Box, you must use the United States Postal Service, and you will not waste time going into other stores that do not have the logo of the United States Postal Service on the building. A trademark quickly tells a customer what to expect, and if there is only one store, or company that can provide what they want, they will not waste their time going in a store if they can go to the one place that provides what they want.
How does a customer or potential customer come to have an expectation of what your company offers and what their experience will be if they buy your product or service? Past experience, the experiences of others (word of mouth), advertising, preconceived ideas, prejudices, and life experience, to name a few. These consumers make decisions of what to buy and who to give their money to, based on their expectations, and they may only spend a second making the decision.
If your brand is not protected, other businesses may use your brand to bring customers who are familiar with your brand into their business. For example, if the United States Postal Service did not enforce their brand, other shipping companies could use logos or names that are similar, in an effort to get customers to use their business. To schedule a FREE APPOINTMENT to discuss ways you can prevent your competitors from using your brand click here.
I recommend that all business owners, on a regular basis (for example quarterly) try to find out what experience people expect from their business. This is truly the brand of the business, and there is always room for improvement. The experience people actually have when they pay you for your product or service is NOT your brand, although it is a major factor in influencing your brand. Rather the experience that people EXPECT is your brand. This can be a difficult thing to control because it resides in the minds of busy distracted imperfect humans. If a business owner does not actively seek to find out what is in the minds of potential customers, then the business owner is only guessing at what their brand actually is, and could be completely wrong.
It is also important for you, as a business owner, to know what other businesses are doing with your brand. Even if someone is using a similar brand, trademark or logo to attract business in another state, your rights are affected and you are required to take action to preserve the exclusive rights to your brand. To schedule a FREE APPOINTMENT to discuss ways you can protect your brand click here.
It is your responsibility to protect and enforce your brand. If you do not protect it, then others may use it an it can become impossible to enforce. At Inspired Idea Solutions Law Firm we help you by advising on what trademarks are easy or difficult to protect, and if you are selecting a trademark, we can help you select on that will be easier to protect. We also file registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other government offices. Our attorneys can do regular searches to find those that are using your trademark, and we help you with enforcement of your trademark by sending letters and taking enforcement action on your behalf when someone else is using your protected trademark. To schedule a FREE APPOINTMENT to discuss ways you can protect your brand fill in the form below.