Mark Kingsley-Williams, founder and director of Trade Mark Direct, is quoted in this weekend’s Financial Times (24 – 25 March 2012) on the issue of branding. See the excerpt below:
“Mark Kingsley-Williams, founder of Trade Mark Direct, an online legal support service, says the classic mistake is to believe that it is enough to register a business name at Companies House or buy the web address. It isn’t.
“The growth of the internet has made branding a minefield for many small businesses, Kingsley-Williams adds.
“For small and medium-sized businesses in particular, a lot of the business they attract is coming through people searching online, whereas previously that business may have come through Yellow Pages advertising.
“As a result, people are resorting to all manner of ways to do down their competitors online.
“Whereas before if somebody was operating in a particular line of business in Scotland and using the same name as another business in Penzance, the two could quite happily coexist. Now, if they use mail order, they will run up against each other on Google searches.”
What you need to know about trade marks
Do your homework when you start a business and check that the business and domain name do not conflict with any other established businesses.
If you accidentally choose a business or product name that is too similar to a competitor, they can accuse of you of violating their trademark and force you to change your business name.
Doing this work at the outset can save a considerable amount of time and money in not having to defend oppositions or even re-brand a business once a trade mark application has been made.
Christian Clothing Company were shocked to receive a call from another clothing company to inform them that they were infringing their trade mark by operating under a name that shared the first two words of their name. The company were forced to re-brand.
Frazer Evett, its founder, said: “There was little else I could do, the other business owned the trade mark and my registration with Companies House and owning the URL offered no protection. I had heard about trade marking a logo, but never just words”. Re-branding cost the company about £28,000.
A trade mark registration with Trade Mark Direct can cost as little as £470 and ensures companies are fully protected from any infringement.