A business without brand protection is like a store without locks on the doors: there’s always a risk a competitor could steal your assets.
If you run a small business, don’t think you’re too insignificant to be noticed. See our examples below – you never know when someone may try to trade off your success or bully you into rebranding!
Your brand is valuable
Your brand name may be your most valuable business asset. It’s likely you’ve put your heart and soul into building your business and strengthening your reputation – and central to all of that is your brand. Failing to protect it by not applying for a trademark registration could be a big mistake.
Some people think that by setting up a company they have protected their business name, but that’s not the case! Registering a company under a business name at Companies House does not give you the exclusive right to use that name. You also need to trademark your business name.
Here are two David-and-Goliath examples of businesses who had the sense to register their trademarks and prevailed against corporate giants when they copied their brands.
A trademark can keep you in business
Amar Lodhia, an athlete and entrepreneur started Fit Kitchen, a healthy food delivery service run via an online platform. Customer complaints for Fit Kitchen branded products, that were not his, alerted him to the trademark infringement.
It turned out that another company, Scratch Meals, was supplying both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose with ready-meals under the FIT KITCHEN name. After an intense two-year legal battle, Scratch Meals, and the two supermarkets they supplied, were all found guilty of trademark infringement and had to pay compensation.
Fit Kitchen’s Trade mark number UK00003179170 (left) Scratch Meals’ infringing product (right)
At the time the Scratch Meals products started appearing on supermarket shelves, Fit Kitchen was a new startup, still building their reputation. But because they had registered their business name as a trademark, they were able to successfully take action to stop Scratch Meals from using their brand.
A trademark can be a scarecrow
Our second example shows why trademarks are important as they can act as scarecrows – stopping copycats in their tracks before legal action is needed. Scamp & Dude is an independent fashion brand. While separated from her children during a lengthy hospital stay, Jo Tutchener-Sharp was inspired to create the brand. Her idea was to help children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones.
Scamp & Dude registered a trademark for “A superhero has my back” covering clothing. The slogan was copied by supermarket chain, Asda, appearing on kids’ clothing available in their stores in 2018.
Scamp & Dude’s clothing (left) Asda’s infringing clothing (right)
Credit: Instagram / www.scampanddude.com
Having trademarked the slogan, Scamp & Dude could have sued Asda for trademark infringement. But they didn’t even have to go that far. Asda quickly withdrew the clothing from their stores and settled with Scamp & Dude privately.
Without a trademark registration, it might have been a long, difficult and expensive legal process for Scamp & Dude to prove they had rights to the slogan.
How and when to register your trademark
The best time to apply for a trademark is now – before you regret not doing it.
A trademark registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely, so the relatively small cost today goes a long way and can save you legal nightmares later.
Trademark Planet empowers you to apply for a trademark yourself, hassle-free and lightning fast, using our simple 3-step online trademark application process. No expensive lawyers required. No hidden costs.
We’ve got your back!
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