A misconception that catches many start-up, and established, businesses is that the registration of a business name gives full protection in the name. This is not correct; and the ‘Sharks’ on the venture capital-based television show ‘Shark Tank’ agree.
As was highlighted in the recent episode, the ‘Sharks’ and any savvy investors, want to know that they are investing into and that they can monopolise and protect it. Business name registration does not provide this protection.
Why does it matter?
Simply, investors are interested in the value attached to a business. Without a form of recognition, protection and an avenue for enforcing the business’ intellectual property, the value of the business is substantially diminished.
The business may also actually acquire a liability by the decision to solely register as a business name as the business name may be infringing a registered trade mark. Investors are largely deterred by risks, and this risk can cripple a business.
Although intellectual property is, by definition, intangible property, it is still considered to be property when registered, in this case, as a trade mark. Investors always prefer to put their money where they can ‘see’ what they are investing into.
What can you do?
Trade Mark your product or service
Trade marks are the answer and, despite a common belief that trade marks are expensive and not beneficial at the start-up stage of a business (or in some cases, at all), this not the case. Specialist lawyers and trade mark attorneys are able to assist with the efficient assessment of your business’ potential product and desired name or imagery. The price of this advice can be many times cheaper than the price of choosing not to do so. Getting the right advice early on prevents an embarrassing loss of money and time invested into a company where the intended name or imagery is an infringement of an existing trade mark.
Early registration of trade marks also provides a business with an early priority date of the mark which greatly assisting in maintaining the right to exploit the mark and prevent others from attempting to ride on the success of the business.
It is always best to seek the right advice first to avoid painful (and often expensive) fumbles in the future.
Irish Bentley Lawyers have a significant level of experience in intellectual property law, business ventures and start-ups. We have lawyers specialised in all facets corporate structuring, start-up planning and intellectual property law including registrations, oppositions and litigation. We provide most of our services on a fixed price basis (rather than a time basis) where possible.
Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice and Irish Bentley Lawyers make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of any of the information contained herein. If you have a copyright issue, then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Irish Bentley Lawyers – there is no substitute for proper legal advice based on your individual and unique circumstances.