5 Things to Remember About the Legalities of Rebranding
It’s no secret that effective branding is critical to getting ahead in business. Here are the five legal points you need to be aware of if you intend to make your brand a success.
Protection is about more than just a name
It’s a common misconception that a brand is only the name of the company in question. Actually, the notion of protecting your unique business identity
goes much further. Your business culture, logo, and other recognisable graphics are all part of the package. With this in mind, it’s essential to check the field before registering a brand name – it’s easier than ever to do this through a web search, as well as with the UK Intellectual Property Office and any relevant online directories.
It’s also important to remember that a trademark is more powerful than registering a company name or gaining internet domain rights. Registering a trademark means you can protect your brand not only from identical branding, but also from similar brands that may lead to confusion. The sooner you address this the better.
Earlier IP rights
It’s easy to get overly invested in new branding and neglect to check whether it encroaches on existing trademarks. This is a potential minefield for businesses, and it’s always better to establish whether there might be trademark issues early on rather than invest time and money in a project that will not succeed. The IPO’s website can assist with the nuances of this process. Basically, if you’re taking on a brand that is registered to an existing company, but which is unlikely to confuse customers, you may find that it’s not a problem. The emphasis is on proving that you’re not creating confusion or taking advantage of the success of a well-known company.
Boundaries on descriptive trademarks
For the purposes of gaining a web presence, many companies choose a descriptive approach to their domain name. However, the drawback to this is that it’s much harder to trademark a description of services. There are plenty of instances where the benefits outweigh the costs, but again, be aware of this from the beginning to avoid disappointment.
Copyright and trademark conflicts
Bear in mind that when you commission a company to design logos and other graphics associated with a brand, they retain the copyright to these designs unless expressly agreed otherwise. If you reuse these designs at a later date in new project, you stand to incur fees. Being aware of this from the beginning can avoid any disagreements further down the line.
Do you own the letters?
Finally, it’s important to know that many fonts and typefaces carry their own copyright, and using them without permission is a breach of copyright. Look into copyright-free alternatives, and consult designers to avoid this pitfall.
Our team of experts are here to help and advise you throughout the rebranding process. Contact one of them today on 01727 858807 and see how we can help you.