Intellectual Property Essentials for Startups

24th July 2023
Discover the essential steps for startups to safeguard their intellectual property rights with this article from our partners at Dragon Argent. Learn from trademark solicitors on how to protect your business assets and navigate the world of trademarks with confidence.

An introduction to IP and its importance for startups

In this article, Dragon Argent’s Intellectual Property Solicitors in London look at some of the Intellectual Property (IP) essentials all founders should be aware of when they start their businesses.

The name of your business or your product can be something which takes a lot of deliberation. You want it to be remembered by your customers, you want them to associate the name with your company and you want to use the name to differentiate your business from your competitors.

Why then do all business owners not protect the name of their business which they thought for so long and hard about? And why is it so important to do this?

How to Protect Your Brand

The key way to protect your business or brand name in the UK is to register a trade mark for the name. If you are also using a distinctive logo, it might also be useful to register that as a separate trade mark.

What is a Trade Mark?

A trade mark is a sign which is a capable of distinguishing goods and services of one business from those of another. A trade mark is typically a word or logo but it is also, in some circumstances, possible to protect colours, sounds or shapes.

There are specific exclusions from trade mark protection, the most common hurdle which will need to be overcome is that the trade mark cannot be descriptive of the goods and services for which protection is being applied for.  An example of a trade mark that was refused registration for being descriptive is the mark DOUBLEMINT applied for by Wrigleys for chewing gum. As such, it is important to think carefully about the brand you choose.

Dragon Argent’s Intellectual Property experts can advise you on whether your band name can be protected by a trade mark and how to go about registering it.

Implications of Not Protecting Your Brand

The main advantage of having a registered trade mark is that is gives you the right to prevent a third party from using your mark. This can be crucial to preventing someone starting a competing brand or launching a competing product which might be confusingly similar to your own and lead consumers to mistake the two brands. It could also be that a third party might deliberately to try to benefit from the reputation you have built up in your brand and “ride on your coattails” –  a registered trade mark can make preventing such activity much simpler.

Importance of Checking Third Party Marks Before Launching

Before applying to register a trade mark, it is important to ensure that no other companies are using your proposed mark or anything confusingly similar before you launch your brand. If a third party wishes to enforce their rights against you this could lead to you having to re-brand which can be time consuming and costly.

At Dragon Argent, our Intellectual Property lawyers can carry out searches for existing marks to try to avoid the risks of an expensive re-brand further down the line. You can schedule a discovery call with an IP solicitor at Dragon to get more information on how to protect your brand.

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    2023-08-16T09:38:55+00:00July 24th, 2023|Categories: Pitching, Advice|