January 1, 2009

Protecting Your Trademarks: Why and How?

A good name can lead to great riches; but, a name without a clear outline of ownership can lead to problems. Find out why your trade-mark portfolio should be assembled, maintained, and legally protected.

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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet

(Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Sc. 2)

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches

(Proverbs, XXII, I)

Why Protect?

A memorable trade-mark is the cornerstone of a robust franchise system. Arguably, it is the single most important element in the formula for continued success in a difficult retail environment. Instant awareness and name recognition unleash a profusion of emotional and physiological reactions in the average consumer. These are powerful forces which, when properly managed and buttressed by the virtuous quartet of “quality, value, service and cleanliness”, bring customers in – and, once they firmly associate “the name” with a satisfying experience – keep them coming back.

Consequently, this is the asset that prospective franchisees should find of greatest value in assessing whether to “buy-into” a particular franchise system. It is essential, therefore, that a trade-mark portfolio be carefully assembled, maintained and legally protected from the free-riders who would prefer to “piggy-back” on a savvy entrepreneur’s success rather than invest “sweat equity” in original thought. Protection from disgruntled or “breakaway” franchisees – not merely competitors – is also vital.

Read on to learn more.