Your brand is the image that differentiates you from your competitors. It identifies your product, your service, your company! It may be represented by a sign, a symbol, a design, a word, a colour, or a combination thereof. It conveys a sense of quality, credibility, customer satisfaction. It plays a crucial role in your marketing strategy and is at the core of your business competitiveness. It generates customer loyalty and has a value. It may become your strongest asset
1.1 Branding Strategies And Business Success
Branding aims at building a distinctive and attractive presence in the market that helps gain and retain loyal customers. Effective branding involves creating an image in the consumers’ minds about the quality of a product or a service, mainly through advertising campaigns centred on the brand. It also requires ensuring the legal protection of the brand against competitors in the relevant markets. Branding strategies are at the core of sustained market competitiveness and business success.
1.2 Brand Creation, Management And Commercialization
Creating a brand implies choosing the signs that will distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors and getting them legally protected. The legal expression of your brand is a trademark. A trademark confers on you the exclusive right to prevent third parties from using the signs that distinguish your brand in the course of trade for identical or similar goods or services. You can register your trademark in India by filing an application at the Trademarks Registry (TMR) within the Office of the Controller General for Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM). The registration of your trademark in India will be valid for a period of 10 years from the date of the trademark registration and can be renewed time and again for similar duration of 10 years. Managing your brand implies regularly renewing your trademarks and enforcing your rights against infringers and counterfeiters. The assignment and licensing of trademark rights may play a significant role in brand commercialization through partnership, merger and franchising initiatives.
1.3 Choosing Your Trademark – Best Practices
Creating a brand implies choosing the sign (trademark) that will distinguish your products or services form those of your competitors. In principle, any sign capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of other undertakings in the market can constitute a trademark. Thus, your trademark may be constituted by a sign, a symbol, a design, a word, a colour, or a combination thereof. However, when choosing your trademark, there are certain requirements or limitations that you need to consider.
The trademark must be distinctive. In other words, it should consist of a sign or a symbol that serves to identify your products or services and distinguishes them from those of other companies/startups. For example, the symbol of Mercedes Benz or a BMW will distinguish the quality of the cars from any other cars in the automobile industry.
The trademark should not be descriptive of the specific goods or services that you wish to commercialize. Generic terms used to identify those goods or services, or terms that describe their characteristics, would not be accepted. For example, ALANKAR cannot be an ideal trademark for jewellery since directly or indirectly it is describing the source of the goods or service.
The trademark should be capable of being represented. Most trademark offices require graphical representation, even though some also accept other means of representation for special types of marks (e.g., MP3 audio recordings for sound marks). The Indian Trademarks Registry requires that your trademark be graphically represented.
The trademark should not be functional, which means that the sign that constitutes your trademark should not consist exclusively of a characteristic that results from the nature of the goods themselves or that is necessary to obtain a technical result. This is especially relevant in the case of three-dimensional marks. For example, A1 or Best.
The trademark should not be deceptive. A sign conveying a false origin or false characteristics of a product would be refused for protection on grounds of being deceptive.
Most countries would refuse protection as a trademark for signs that are contrary to public order or morality.
State flags, State emblems and names and emblems of intergovernmental organizations are excluded from protection as trade marks in most countries around the world.
Finally, most importantly, you must make sure that the sign you wish to use as your trademark is still available in the market and is not the same as or similar to a well-known mark or a trademark already registered by someone else for the same goods or services. Therefore, it is very important that you make an exhaustive search for the availability of your trademark in those markets where you would like to get it protected.