Trademarks matter for many reasons. Here’s a short list of some of those reasons.
1. Registered trademarks establish the legal ownership in your brand.
Trademark rights are generally created by registration. In some countries it is possible to acquire limited trademark rights based on the use of the trademark, but in most countries this is not either possible or is extremely difficult. As a general rule, you need to register your trademark to have a solid legal ownership of your brand.
2. Registered trademarks enhance your freedom to operate.
If you do not register your trademark, it is possible (or even likely) that somebody in another country will register a similar name. Most conflicts are not intentional. There is more than 15 thousand trademark applications filed every day. The chances are that you’re not the only one thinking of a particular name. If somebody registers even a similar name in a country that is important for you, it may become very problematic and costly.
3. Trademark registrations put other in notice of your rights.
When your trademark is registered, your ownership is publicly available for other companies to find and take into account. Registering your trademark is a good way of reducing the likelihood of somebody infringing your rights.
4. Save money.
Trademarks are a relatively inexpensive form of intellectual property. Registering your trademarks will save money in case there is a conflict, regardless of whether you are being accused of infringement or whether you accuse someone on infringing your rights. If your rights are infringed, it does not matter who’s right in the end, it will cost all parties money and other resources.
5. Have better partnerships.
In many countries, particularly in many Asian countries, local partners require that your trademark is protected. Why? They are also investing money, resources and their reputation in bringing your products available in their countries to their own customers and clients. They are also vulnerable for local knock-offs and rip-offs if you have not protected your trademark. Not protecting your trademark tells the local partner that you are not interested in covering their back. So by protecting your trademark you also protect local partner’s interests and as a result can attract much better partners.
6. Increase the value of your brand.
Registered trademarks increase the value of your brand. According to ISO standard (10668:2010), registered trademarks are one of three components attributing to your brand value.
7. Investors value intellectual property protection.
Investors value companies higher that has protected its intellectual property. There are many reasons for this. One is that the value of intellectual property can increase indefinitely (unlike tangible possessions), another is that intellectual property protection reduces operational risks.
8. Trademark registration means serious business.
A company that does not protect its investments brand building and its own commercial identity is hard to take seriously. Trademarks are indicators or commercial origin. If a company does not claim ownership of its own commercial identity, how can it be taken seriously?
9. The ® symbol is good for marketing.
Being able to use the ® sign indicates to customers that product and its commercial origin is worth protecting. The ® symbol informs the public that the brand owner believes in the product and does not want competitors to ride on its reputation. The ® symbol increases consumer trust.
10. Leveraging revenue sources.
Trademark protection is essential for licensing. Licensing is not only for big multinational companies. We represent a lot of startups whose business model includes licensing both their technology and brand. Technology licensing is a good way of bringing your brand to the fore. In the end, and if done right, the brand will be more valuable than the technology.