Tag Archives: brand collaboration

Trade mark registration – what does it give me?

Trade mark registration seems to be on lots of people’s “to do” list. For most businesses a trade mark is a fair chunk of investment, especially in the early stages. Lots of people aren’t really clear what a trade mark registration gives them. And just as importantly, what it doesn’t. As a result, it often gets overlooked on that “to do” list.

So here’s a quick run down of some general pointers* about what kind of benefits and security you get from having a trade mark registration.

What you get with a trade mark registration:
  • First of all, you get the presumed right to use the trade mark. In the country it’s registered in. On the goods or services it’s registered for.
  • Then you also have the right to stop someone else from using the same, or similar trade mark. In the country you have it registered in. If they are using it on the same or similar goods or services to the ones you have it registered for. And there is a likelihood that customers will be confused.
  • There’s the increased ability to ask for investment because you can legitimately say that you own the brand. Think of Dragon’s Den – the first question they ask is “do you own it”.
  • You can license it to other people to use. Think of franchises, spin-off product ranges, collaborations.
  • The ability to use it to raise finance for your business, e.g. by mortgaging it.
  • Also the right to sell the trade mark as part of your business.
  • You can use the ® symbol which tells other people that your trade mark is registered and warns them about your existence. A great deterrent.
  • It can be used to object to similar domain name registrations that contain your trade mark, or something similar.
  • You have the ability to use it to stop counterfeiters.
  • Also, you can use it to register with customs authorities to help prevent the importation of counterfeit goods.
What you don’t get from a trade mark registration:
  • Global protection. Registered trade mark rights are restricted just to the countries where you have a registration. If it’s not registered in that country, you’re not protected there.
  • Every type of product or service is protected. Unless you’ve got a registration for them all. There is no “catch all” term like “merchandise”, you have to be specific.
  • Other people copying your business idea, or simply running the same type of business (there are lots of clothes shops in the world for example). So long as they are using a different name, brand etc your trade mark registration won’t be able to stop them. Even if you are the first to the market.
  • You won’t be able to stop people using descriptive words. For example, “Bargain Books” can still be used by everyone else to describe their bargain books, even if you have, say, a logo version of that registered.

If you have any questions, or would like help protecting your trade mark, either in the UK or overseas, please get in touch.

*Not all countries have the same laws, these are general pointers from a UK and EU perspective. If you have a query about a specific country please get in touch.

Alexa Chung blog heading picture

Alexa Chung, brand collaborations and trade marks

Archive by Alexa Chung for Marks & Spencer was launched this week.

It might just be my Instagram feed, but it feels like everyone has been obsessing over this. Especially the Harry blouse. It got me thinking about trade marks and brand collaborations generally. They’re great, they’re mutually beneficial, and they’re not exclusive to big names and high street retailers.

Alexa Chung Harry blouse

The lovely Anna from Little Flea looking fabulous in the Harry blouse.

The key thing with making a brand collaboration work is to make sure that everyone is clear about who owns what and what the collaboration is going to look like.

Alexa Chung has a European-wide trade mark registration for ALEXA CHUNG, it covers clothing goods amongst other things. Marks & Spencer own various trade mark registrations for Marks & Spencer and M&S also covering clothing amongst other things. Both sides own their own “names”. Put them together and agree who owns what and you have a brand collaboration in the making.

Commercially I imagine there were some meetings, probably several. They all probably chatted about their vision, how many pieces there would be in the collection, the retail price point, how they wanted the PR to be handled, who was going to be invited to the launch party, etc etc. Somewhere in amongst those meetings, there will have been an agreement covering the use of the trade marks.

Alexa Chung will have licensed M&S to use her registered trade mark on this range, it will have included requirements about how it is used, the quality of the products (after all, if you buy a dodgy blouse it’s her name and reputation that’s linked to it as much as M&S) and how the agreement will come to an end. It will also cover things like whether this agreement is exclusive or not – are M&S the only people that will have an Alexa Chung clothing line this year?

If you’ve got a brand and you want to increase your profile, and maybe launch a collaboration with another company, you’ll also want to think about some of these things. One of the starting points will be whether you have rights in the brand that you’re licensing out.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to have a chat about how Stanmore IP can help you with that.