|Have you got a strategy?|
So you have a few trade marks. You used an attorney to help you obtain registration, although it seemed pretty straightforward. You didn’t run into any problems, but maybe that was because you used a good attorney who steered you clear of the pitfalls. But now it is just a matter of sitting back - the job is done, right?
If you think that maintaining a trade mark portfolio is just a matter of keeping an eye on the renewal dates, consider just a few points....
- Are you sure that you have the protection of registration for all of the marks your enterprise uses?
- So you’re considering having products made in China, but you won’t sell there. Do you still need to register your trade marks in China?
- Is it better to register a Community Trade Mark that covers the whole of the EU, or just the one European market of interest to you?
- How do you effectively monitor the marketplace to make sure no one uses a mark too similar to yours?
- What do you do if you find a competitor using your mark?
- How do you keep renewal costs under control?
- You’ve increased your product or service range. Do your existing registrations still provide sufficient protection?
- Should you register domain names incorporating all your trade marks?
- Is it necessary to register the words, logos and different coloured versions of your marks separately?
- You want to launch into the US market in a couple of years. Should you register there now?
- A company acquisition has brought you a whole swag of trade mark properties in different countries. How do you make sure you know what you’ve bought and that the registrations are all valid and current?
- The colour you have used on your products for several years is becoming well recognised. Can you stop others from using the same colour?
- Your marketing people have come up with some variations on your house trade mark. is it a good idea to use these?
- Speaking of your marketing people, do they have a basic grounding in best practice for correct trade mark selection, use and protection?
So here we have a blog post full of questions but no answers. The real take-away is: managing a trade mark portfolio may not be rocket science, but it can be far more complex that you first think. Find an expert.