Explaining trade mark: where the loopholes lie

You’ve come up with the perfect name, worked with experts to craft the perfect brand and you’re bracing yourself for a huge improvement in turnover.  If your new brand captures with exactitude the essence of your company and compels prospects to come and say hello then you’ve got a concept you’ll want to protect.

So trade mark should be sufficient right?  You’d imagine trade mark to provide you with protection should another company start stepping on your toes, but there are some scenarios where trade mark might not protect you as well as you’d think.

In this article, you will learn about trademark loopholes and how you can protect your brand.

What trade mark will protect you against

Registering your trade mark gives you certain guarantees and benefits. In essence, that tiny ® symbol protects you against trade mark infringement.  A company isn’t necessarily infringing upon someone else’s trademark by using the same name; infringement occurs if you use a similar or identical trade mark for similar goods or services which could cause confusion for the public.

A registered trade mark protects a company from what you could call “identity fraud” so that the public won’t mistakenly believe another company’s goods or services are yours because their trade mark is so similar.

If a similar trade mark doesn’t necessarily cause confusion, but causes damage or takes unfair advantage of the reputation of a similar trade mark, then this is classed infringement.

Where the law starts to buckle

So, a registered trade mark can go some way to protect you brand name and logo. But, what it can’t do is stop a far more powerful company swooping in and taking aspects of your brand. Big corporations often use trademark loopholes to take aspects of smaller brands. This could be anything from a tag line to the actual company name.

As Laytons Solicitors point out, a business can use the same name as you if they’re in a different sector and even if you believe you have a case for claiming trade mark infringement, taking legal action can be costly and time-consuming.

If you don’t want to take legal action, your options are to make a complaint with Companies House – but you lose control as soon as the complaint has been made.

This means that if you’re up against a powerful company you’re a bit helpless to protect your brand. The design and branding company Wick Creative, formerly known as Bing, had exactly this problem. When Microsoft announced the release of their new search engine Bing in 2009, the company realised they needed to make a change.

Wick Creative’s organic performance in search engines sank straight away due to various articles being written about Microsoft’s new release, and though they considered capitalising on the buzz around Bing, they decided it’d be more fruitful to rebrand than try and pick up a few waifs and strays actually interested in search engines. Luckily, as a brand and design company, Wick could use their own resources to successfully rebrand, but of course this isn’t an option for everyone.

In some scenarios, it may be worth weathering the storm if another company uses a similar slogan or name and trade mark won’t protect you. In other instances it may be time to get in touch with a brand specialist who can give you guidance as to where you should head next.

How Vivid Creative can help

Vivid Creative is a UK creative marketing agency that specialises in branding, web design, and performance marketing. Contact us today with your requirements or project.

View All Blog Posts