“Self-esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there’s nothing without it.”― Gloria Steinem

That is what an “Intellectual Property / Trademark” is to an organization.

The expression Trademark in this context is used in the broad sense to mean trademark, copyright, design, patent, secret formulas and more essentially the recognition, acceptance, acknowledgement, assurance and association with the quality of the product and services.

Trademark is the brand identifier and brand ambassador, spreading and expanding from marks to sounds to smells to colors to holograms to taglines to patents to copyrights to name a few. The recent Court ruling has further expanded the scope to recognition of ‘Trans Border Reputation’[In the latest Judgment of the High Court in the Toyota – Prius case, despite the registration of a ‘Prius’ by the opposing party, High Court has decreed the matter in favour of Toyota on the ground Trans-Border Reputation] and use of brands of goods / services over the uses of such brands in Film Industry. [Yahoo case – restraining the use of brand name ‘Yahoo’ as Movie]

Present World recognizes nothing but the commercial value – acknowledging the Doctrine of Money Power. To talk in that language, Power Brands[legally called “Well Known Marks”] are the most valuable asset of a Company. Trademarks appreciates over time and a single trademark can be even more precious than the business or the value of the organization. As an example, the brand Apple is valued at $ 154.1 Billion and Facebook valued at $52.6 Billions.

The Study titled Brands—Reputation and Image in the Global Marketplace (WIPO 2013)” – estimates that global branding investments approached half a trillion dollars in 2011.

According to the Study “Intellectual property rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in the European Union (EPO and OHIM 2013)” – more than 50% of industries in the EU are IP-intensive. These industries generated almost 39% of GDP in the EU, worth—€4.7 trillion—, and directly support 26% (56 million) of all jobs.

Yet another Study – Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus (ESA and USPTO 2012)” – shows that IP-intensive industries accounted for about $5.06 trillion in value or 34.8% of U.S. GDP, in 2010. Moreover, 40 million jobs, or 27.7% of all jobs, were directly or indirectly attributable to the most IP-intensive industries.

Trademarks touches and influences us on a daily basis….. both as Individual and as Companies

Trademarks are the most effective communication tool – bridging and bonding the relationship between Consumer and Companies.

Trademarks convey intellectual, quality and emotional attributes and messages about Company, its reputation, products and services

Trademark playing the role emotional connect building the cord between consumer and company.

Trademarks make it easy for expanding the Customers base and confidence, increasing the frequency of offtakes.

The marketplace is crowded and it is hard to distinguish from your competitors.

Trademarks/brands are an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make the business, products and services stand out.

Thus, Brand are the critical factor in driving a customer’s purchase decision.

Brands strengthens consumer confidences

Internet and Social Media.

Brand is the first thing customers enter into a search engine or social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) when looking for products and services.

Higher traffic on a website or social media platform translates into higher volumes, higher rankings, bringing even more traffic, more customers and more brand recognition.

Trademarks are great contributor to Talent acquisition and retention.

Brands inspire positive feelings in people’s minds. As a result, employment opportunities are more attractive to candidates. Employee retention can be higher if employees have positive feelings for the brand and the products and services offered.

Trademarks – an everlasting asset – never expire. Trademark will not expire as long as one is using it. Some of the most recognized brands have been around for over a hundred years. COLT (first registered in 1889) • QUAKER (first registered in 1895) • PEPSI-COLA (first registered in 1896) • MERCEDES (first registered in 1900)

Though, such a valuable and everlasting Asset, Companies tends to miss the opportunities of registering and protecting trademarks. The trend observed by the leading Law Firms across the globe demonstrates a common trend of omissions, inadvertently leading to losing the protection.

Perhaps most critical and common mistake is that simply because an agency has “coined” a word or developed a design, it does not mean that it “owns” that word or design from a trademark perspective. Unlike copyright law, trademark law is not about rewarding creativity. Instead, it focuses on the marketplace, seeking to protect consumers against confusion and companies that have invested money, time, and effort in developing goodwill, thus registration is must.

Yet another common trend observed worldwide is merely registering the associated “.com,” “.biz,” “.info,” or other domain names does not mean you have acquired or own any trademark rights in the mark.

Latest trends shows high levels of activity in the sector spread to registering the brands, litigation and protective mechanism to safeguard the intellectual properties, brand expansion and making the brand globally known and recognized.

A prominent IP lawyer observed, “There has been a marked increase in clearance work, clients having freed up more capital to focus on the commercialization of their brand, both on a domestic and international basis.” Brand management is “universally taken more seriously by clients, even in comparison with five years ago” and companies’ increased awareness of their intellectual property as a powerful asset has upped the competition among leading lawyers as clients look to secure expert brand management advice at lower rates in line with their focus on cost mitigation.

Conclusion

In this fast changing highly competitive environment, Companies are looking to add greater strategic and commercial value to their organizations. Brands and Intellectual Property strengthens the core value of the Organization, rebuilds Confidence, be the Company of choice and Partners in Business Excellence.

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Vikas GoyalVikas Goyal, Vice President & Head – Legal, Ferrero

Vikas Goyal is a Corporate Lawyer with a professional degree of law and Master of Business Law from NLS, Bangalore having enriching and diversified experience of 20 years as in-house counsel with Hindustan Unilever, PepsiCo, Cargill and Ferrero

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