Have you ever considered how much your trading name, or brand, is worth to you? If not, think for a moment how your business could be affected if someone were to imitate your livelihood.
How would your business be affected if someone were to start up the same type of business with a very similar name? A customer searching for you on the web might believe that you were affiliated, or even worse, that you were the same organisation and trade with them instead of you. Just think of all the lost orders and potential for disruption.
It could get even worse. The imposter may not provide the same exceptional levels of service to its customers that you do. It may even deliver such a bad service that they quickly generate widespread bad press and if their name is similar, you will undoubtedly suffer the knock-on effects even though you are completely separate. Such a situation could see your hard-won reputation evaporate overnight, taking months, if not years, to restore. As business risks go, this one is very real.
Thankfully you can seek protection by registering your business name as a trademark. By doing so, you are indicating that you value your brand and that you are prepared to defend it. Protection can extend to just your business name, or further if you use a particular logo which your customers associate you with.
A registered trademark is no guarantee for avoiding problems, but if one occurs it means that you can quickly take legal action before any real harm is done. The registration process is surprisingly straightforward and cost effective when compared to the harm that might otherwise be caused.
If you need advice on intellectual property or any trademark issues, please contact Edward Garston, a Senior Associate in the Company Commercial Department. Call on 01708 229444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Edward Garston, a company commercial solicitor at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of February 2017.