In 1999 the founders of CM.com came up with the idea of contacting groups via sms: specifically, users of clubs and discotheques. Since then, the company has grown into an international, full-service communications and payment service provider. What’s more, the single brand they started with has grown to a collection of 102 brands worldwide. In order to ensure the company has full protection everywhere, CM.com commissioned the services of a trademark office.
“Whether big or small, every brand has a certain goodwill factor. You should make sure you properly record the goodwill you build with your brand because it has financial value”, says senior legal adviser Maxime Salomons from CM.com. “The more goodwill you build, the more you should ensure that everything is properly registered. Our trademark office has been keeping an eye on that for us for a few years now. It gives us the certainty that we’re fully protected worldwide.”
Maxime explains that CM.com has been actively registering its trademarks since 2005. “Originally our own legal officer was doing that. At the time it was still quite straightforward and only in the Benelux. We’ve grown a lot though, especially in the past few years – organically, but also through international takeovers. Those takeovers also involved takeovers of various brand portfolios. Then it was another story. We had to deal with different laws and regulations.”
CM.com wanted certainty regarding its trademark protection, so, a few years ago, the company commissioned the services of the trademark representative mr. Linde Bloemers. “We were too busy with other things to keep track of the trademark administration or to look into other trademark-related matters,” Maxime explains. “At the time, our trademark office checked straightaway what we had already done ourselves to protect our brand and whether it was as it should be. They also registered new trademarks for us and extended existing trademarks to countries where we didn’t yet have anything registered.”
Maxime: “Since then CM.com has grown into a listed company with different entities. At the moment, we have 102 word and/or figurative marks in different countries, for all of our different businesses. Thanks to our trademark office we know for sure there are no gaps in our brand portfolio. We can visualise all our trademark registrations in 1 overview via a useful portal, as well as which classes those registrations are valid for and in which countries.”
What do you need to think about when registering your trademark?
Prepare your registration properly. By doing so, you will reduce the risk of other brands wanting to withhold your registration, or of your application being refused. On our page ‘All about trademarks’ you can read about what you need to take into account when registering your trademark.
There is also another advantage to working with a trademark office: the international network of agents. Maxime: “We also had to deal, for instance, with provisional refusals of trademark registrations in some of the more exotic countries. It was really good that we did not have to spend time taking care of that ourselves. If there are any international disputes and issues, our trademark office puts us in contact with specialist agents and they deal with it for us.”
Would you like to outsource registering your trademark, monitoring your trademark or full management of your brand portfolio to professionals? You can find a specialist through the website of the Benelux Association for Trademark and Design Law. Tip: discuss your situation with several specialists to find out who would be the best suited for your business.
1,000 employees = 1,000 trademark agents
“Our trademark office monitors all of CM.com’s rights. We receive notification if they see a trademark that could be confusing. It’s something that happens quite regularly and it’s up to us to take action to deal with it, but it also happens the other way around”, says Maxime. “Sometimes we sound the alarm ourselves because a CM.com employee has spotted a trademark or a logo that looks very similar to one of ours. It's a hot topic within our company. In fact, with our 1,000 employees it means we also have 1,000 trademark agents monitoring our trademarks.”
- The more goodwill you generate with your brand, the more important it is that you record that in the correct way – for now and for the future.
- Everybody – quite easily – can apply to register a trademark online, but the description of the class for which you are making the trademark application is very precise.
- Avoid any gaps in your brand portfolio and make sure you are fully protected.