Worried about someone stealing your brand? Take immediate steps to protect your business branding. The most common and simplest way to protect your brand is by making it a copyright, getting trademark registration, industrial design, Geographic Indicator(GI) or even a patent registration. Once done, nobody else can use your brand. If anyone wants to use your brand, they would need your permission and you can even charge them for it and since you’re the only one who has it, you can ask for any price for it.
Some simple things to note:
- Get Legal Protection: Whatever you have created, the best thing to do is to get legal protection for it. That means filing for patents, trademarks, copyrights, GIs or designs. If you have created any artistic or architectural work or even any study material, it can be copyrighted. Once copyrighted, nobody can present the information in the manner you have presented it. You have to figure out what you can protect and how to protect it. These days almost everything can be protected. Even the sounds used for advertising can be trademarked these days.
- Create something Unique: If you own something unique and out of the box, you can patent it and thus make people associate it with your brand. Anytime anyone thinks about your patent, they will make a connection with your brand. Hence your brand will seep into people’s consciousness. For e.g. the aircraft ramp access used by Indigo has been patented by them. So now when anyone thinks about walking up a ramp, they simply think of Indigo.
- Beat the Herd: If you design your product in a way not thought of by anyone, then you can protect your design against copying by others. With the help of their ramped access, Indigo is more efficient and gets their passengers seated quicker than other airlines. Through this example, you can see that if you just come with a different way to do the same thing, you can create a brand reputation.
- Use your Legal Rights: But that’s not all. You must ruthlessly enforce your right to own your brand. Whether it is a trade mark, design or patent, it must be protected by keeping a strict vigil not only on your rivals and competitors but also any newbies on the block. The most common way to free ride on someone’s brand is by passing it off as their own. So, you can protect your brand by actually using your brand. The more you use it, the more people will remember it and talk about. This is a great way to create brand visibility and make it a well-known brand. Further, well-known brands, cannot be infringed by others even if they are not registered. In fact, the Trademarks Registry maintains a list of all marks that have been declared, by Indian Courts, to be well-known.
- Maintain your Brand: Consistently and regularly conducting search reports of copyright, patents, trademarks and designs is a simple and efficient way of keeping a track on conflicting brands and raise objections. If any of them sound similar to your brands, you quickly ask them to cease and desist by sending a legal notice. Other marks that use your mark in it in any way are a red flag.
- Take Legal Action: If that doesn’t work, then you can take legal action by going to the authorities, ask them to pay damages and give you a royalty for everything they’ve sold using your brand.