4 Tips to Stop Competitors From Taking Advantage of Your Brand
Your business’ brand is its most important asset. A business’ brand comprises its intellectual property (IP) and is a significant part of your business strategy. Your brand is what people remember about your business, helping you establish a reputation and stand out among competitors. No matter what industry your business is in, competition is fierce, making it more important than ever to have a strong brand that competitors will not dilute. This article will take you through four tips for stopping competitors from taking advantage of your brand.
1. Register a Trade Mark
Registering a trade mark is one way you can stop competitors from taking advantage of your brand. Registering your trade mark gives you exclusive rights to a certain brand element, such as a name, logo, or tagline. These exclusive rights include enforcement rights to stop others from using a trade mark identical to or similar to yours, which will help protect the reputation of your business and prevent others from profiting from your hard work.
While it is possible to have an unregistered trade mark, registration provides an extra layer of protection against competitors. With a registered trade mark, you have proof that you are the owner of your brand, making it easier to prove infringement.
2. Develop a Unique Brand
Developing a unique brand will help stop competitors from taking advantage of your brand. Having a unique brand that is unlike any competitor will help prove the originality of your brand. This will make enforcing your trade mark rights easier, preventing others from using your brand for their own benefit.
If you plan on applying for a trade mark for your brand, having a unique brand is also a legal requirement. This is because the purpose of a trade mark is to distinguish your goods or services from others, making it essential that your trade mark is unique from others.
3. Monitor Your Brand
Once you have registered your trade mark, it is important that you vigilantly monitor the use of your brand in the marketplace to ensure competitors are not taking advantage of it. While registering a trade mark is a great first step in brand protection, it is up to you to enforce your rights over your trade mark.
You can monitor your brand using the relevant trade mark register. In Australia, this is the Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS). Regularly searching for trade marks that are similar or identical to yours in the same or a similar class of goods and services will allow you to take action before competitors can take advantage of your brand.
As well as checking the trade mark search register, you will need to keep an eye out for people using your brand without registration. By looking out for competitors using your brand either online or in person, you will be able to identify any potential ‘copy cats’ and take action before your brand suffers any negative consequences.
4. Enforce Your Rights
Once you have identified misuse of your brand, you will need to enforce your trade mark rights. These can include:
- sending cease and desist letters to request that competitors stop using branding that is identical or similar to yours;
- making formal oppositions to proposed trade marks that are too similar to yours; and
- going to court to pursue legal action if you feel like a competitor is taking advantage of your brand.
Remember that the purpose of a trade mark is to give you exclusive rights to its use and commercialisation. This includes the right to stop competitors from taking advantage of your branding. By putting a stop to misuse of your brand before it occurs or pursuing legal action if it does happen, you can stop competitors from reaping rewards that should be yours.
Your brand is the most valuable part of your business. Ensuring that others are not using your branding for their own commercial benefit is essential to protect the value of your business. The best way to protect your brand from competitors is to:
- register a trade mark;
- monitor for misuse of your brand; and
- enforce your rights to the exclusive use of your trade mark.
Protecting your brand from competitors can be a complex process that our experienced trade mark lawyers can help you with. For advice, get in touch with them on 1300 657 423 or fill out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can stop competitors from taking advantage of your brand by registering a trade mark. Having a registered trade mark will give you exclusive rights over your trade mark, allowing you to stop others from taking advantage of your brand.
There are a number of ways you can enforce your trade mark rights. The best option for you will differ depending on your circumstances and the goals of your business. You can enforce your trade mark rights in several ways, including sending a cease and desist letter, making a formal opposition, or taking the matter to court.