Design a logo and brand
Your brand or logo represents the personality that the public will come to associate your business. Developing a distinctive trade mark should be an integral part of your marketing strategy, but the work doesn't end with choosing what your business will be called or how the logo will look.
There is no point investing time and energy on a trade mark that can't be registered or is already registered by someone else. By registering your trade mark early on in its development, you avoid this risk and ensure nobody else can use your distinctive brand name.
What do you need to consider?
Ownership of any IP should be explicitly outlined and recorded. Some IP might belong to the 'author' or 'creator' but it can also be difficult to establish ownership of IP where several people are involved in its creation. One of the most common mistakes organisations make is not securing rights from a third party contractor.
Unless specified by a legally binding agreement, it can be difficult to determine where the ownership lies, so don't risk it -sort out who owns what well before your new venture hits the market. Employee contracts might also help to clearly establish ownership of any IP created within a business, though generally the news is good for employers as all IP generated by employees is owned by the company.
How do I protect myself?
You might pay someone to design a company logo and unless specified, the IP will belong to the designer as they have created an original work that will be protected by copyright. Payment does not necessarily give rise to ownership rights. The best way to secure ownership would be by ensuring you have a contract with the designer that clearly addresses ownership.
Organisations should also ensure that the contract with marketing companies and designers that help you with the creation of your brand includes a clause that requires them to prove that the design work will not conflict with IP, in any medium, owned by another company.
Once your brand has been created, and before you apply it to your goods and services, make sure you formally register your trade mark. There's no point spending time and money using it in the marketplace only to find it doesn't meet the requirements of the registration process. Without trade mark registration you're leaving your brand vulnerable to copycats and you might unknowingly infringing on the IP rights of others.
Last Updated: 02/4/2014