Trademark law: a topic that many entrepreneurs are quick to brush aside as a legal hassle. A good product or well-delivered service sells itself. You don’t need trademark registration for that. But trademark registration is no paper tiger and I would like to challenge you to look beyond what may seem like a boring legal side of this topic. 

Marthe Van Pijkeren, Lioc Patents & Trademarks

A good product or service is what’s at the heart of your business. And that’s what you actually want to spend time on. However, you also want satisfied customers to know how to find you again next time, of course. This is where your brand comes in. A unique name or logo that customers can recognise and trust. A mark of distinction that helps people know how to find you. Your brand stands for quality and your customer knows which name to look for if they want to purchase a good product or service. 

Building a brand doesn’t happen on its own. You have to invest in marketing, in product development and in building up a reputation. Everything that goes out the door under your brand name and/or logo needs to be good quality. And then, suddenly one day a competitor comes along and starts using your brand name and logo (or a similar brand name and logo) to sell their cheaper, inferior products or services. They hitch a ride on your success and benefit from all your hard work. What would you do? And actually what can you do? 

This is where trademark registration plays a crucial role. It gives you the legal basis to act against this kind of infringement. Without trademark registration, things get a lot trickier. Just using your name and logo without registering them is very often not enough to protect you. In fact, in most countries, trademark rights don’t emerge through use, but only through registration. In other words, having a domain name and/or a registration in the Chamber of Commerce trade register isn’t enough.  You don’t obtain any trademark rights there. 

Registering your name or logo as a trademark is necessary if you want to be able to take action against a trademark infringement. Trademark registration is a bit like car insurance here. You hope you never need the insurance, but should you hit a wall, you can’t just take out insurance once you’re already up against it. 

As an entrepreneur, I challenge you to ask yourself the following question: How much is your brand worth to you? Is it worth the effort and cost to protect? My bet is that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. And that’s why trademark registration is not only important. It is essential for every entrepreneur who knows that you can’t dodge every bullet. Especially not when the bullets are coming from competitors. 

It’s an investment in the future of your business. That’s why, in my opinion, a distinctive name should always be trademarked. If you want to protect your brand name and/or logo, seek advice from a BMM-certified trademark attorney. After all, brand protection is a field of its own.

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