I had nine classmates named ‘Monika’ in college. Yes, nine out of 40 girls had the same name and some of them even used it without a surname. One-fourth of the girls just seemed similar to me and every day for almost three years, morning attendance was something everyone enjoyed.
Same chaos was created during our assignment submissions and other activities which involved calling these Monikas by name. And the only solution we came up to distinguish between them was by referring them with their roll numbers or some weird nicknames. But till date most of us are still confused, which Monika is our friend on Facebook.
On the other hand, there was a really charming and diligent girl in our batch, with an unconventional name ‘Anivind’ meaning ‘strive for success’ and indeed she did made efforts to succeed in everything she did. Her name was justifying her personality and was adding value to it because she turned this peculiar and easy to remember name into a brand. Thanks to her parents who had put some extra efforts in deciding the name of their own ultimate brand.
Your name reflects your personality and ‘Everything is in the name’. Building your brand name is the biggest challenge faced by any business today and the best way to do this, is by dishing out something unique and compelling. Also an appealing logo that adds up to the value of a brand, as people are not good with words, but they remember signs.
The speed at which the companies are moving nowadays, the only thing that can save a brand from sinking is by making sure that your brand stands apart in the crowd and protected accurately. Whether your company sells washing powder or you are any startup selling discount coupons. Your brand says, “This is who we are and this is what we can do for you.”
The goodwill of the brand name is the reason your products and services are bought by your clients. A brand is no longer what you tell the consumers it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. It more important to protect your brand from infringing. There are some points you should keep in mind before leaving your mark on the world.
Make your brand name a verb
We Skype, we don’t Viber. We Google, We don’t Bing (at least not yet). The best way to promote your brand name and logo is by using it as much as you can and that’s also the best way to protect it. The more people recognise your products and services by your brand name, the more likely it can be protected from infringement. Also the court will recognise that you have legal rights on it and hence punishing the offenders.
Start with registering your brand name
You can protect your brand by registering its name, logo, and slogan. For example, you can represent your brand by words, taglines, sounds, smell, pictures, figures, or colour combinations, anything that can be represented graphically and is distinctive from other businesses. You can apply to register them as trademark by applying online or consult some experts. After registering your trademark it gives you the monopoly to use it only for your business and prevents it from infringement.
You can also register it as an incorporation, if it is just a domain name and not a company yet. You can quickly register it online by simply submitting the required documents and the prescribed form along with the fee.
Watch out for infringers
Always keep an eye on the use of your brand name by others. This will help you track down the infringers if any. Make use of the software available for providing ‘watching’ services, helping you to notice, if anyone applies for a similar or identical brand name or logo as yours.
Do some informal research by using different internet sources and monitoring your competitors and other media sources.
What if you caught an infringer?
Immediately take action against the offenders. If anyone had applied for a similar trademark as yours to be registered then you can simply oppose it when it will be out for opposition on TM journal. Other disputes include the use of your trademarked brand without your consent. It can be handled by filing a written complaint against them in the court.
To oppose a trademark, there is a four-month opposition period after the trademark is advertised in the Trade Marks Journal.
This opposition can be filed only in front of the registrar and not directly in front of court or IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board).
For filing opposition the TM-5 form should be filled with the prescribed fees.
An Opposer (plaintiff) can raise either absolute ground like fraud, bad faith, functionality, etc., or on relative grounds namely likelihood of confusion, trade name use, etc., in an opposition proceeding.
If the opposition is successful, the registration of the trademark will be refused. If it fails, it will be registered.
During the opposition proceedings, more preference is given to the public point of view than the point of view of the parties. So, make sure you are popular enough to get public support.
Your brand name is your mark on this world, guard it with your life!