Protecting your brand

The need to protect your assets – especially goodwill – was highlighted when a Preston hair salon had to change its brand after legal action involving another hairdresser with the same name.

The Preston salon, called Bonce, started trading in 2007 – a year before its namesake in Birmingham was launched. However, the Midlands salon had trademarked the name, whereas the Preston hairdresser had no legal protection.

As a result, the Preston salon had to spend £1,000 on new signs and price lists – not to mention concerns that clients may have thought the salon was in the hands of a new owner.

How to stop your hard-earned reputation from dissolving overnight

This case vividly illustrates the importance of trademarking your brand – a quick, straightforward and inexpensive process, whether you are a sole trader or a larger company.

For £750 you can obtain legal protection, which is considerably cheaper than having to change the name of your harrison-drury.combusiness.

This can be extremely damaging, particularly if you have built up goodwill around your brand over a number of years. In addition, you must take into account potential legal costs, disruption to trade, and the significant amount of management time spent on developing a fresh brand.

Of course, the Preston salon could have taken the case to court, but there was no guarantee of success and the legal costs could have been ruinous. In contrast, bringing a legal case based upon infringement of a registered trademark is a far simpler and more economic exercise...

One easy step to full trademark protection

As proactive commercial lawyers, we take you through the entire trademarking process. This involves an initial search of the register to make sure the identity can be used in your sector. Next, the trademark is published by the Intellectual Property Office and there is a period during which any objections can be made. Typically, the whole procedure takes around three months.

How trademarking pays for itself

This means that if someone claims you are trying to pass yourself off as them, you have a strong defence if your trademark was registered before they began trading with a similar name or brand. Conversely, if you discover someone else is passing their business off as yours, you have an immediate legal solution. It should be kept in mind, though, that you cannot trademark family names or general descriptive terms, for example Hairdressers R Us.

John Chesworth
Managing partner
Harrison Drury and Co Solicitors