What is best? Register your trademark yourself or ask a professional specialised in intellectual property law specialist (an IP representative) to do it for you? The answer is obvious when you put the question to a professional.
Frédérique Timan is not preaching to the choir though when she explains where the value lies in engaging a specialist. Below are 5 reasons to engage an IP representative.
1. You get feedback from the start about whether your name or product can be protected
One click is not enough to find out whether your trademark is ‘free’ or not. You have to do more; simply searching on Google and registering your domain name is not sufficient. As an entrepreneur, that is quite a task – especially if you want to be sure that you choose the right products and services for your trademark.
If you ask an IP representative to do it for you, you know straightaway what the situation is. You know:
- whether you can protect a particular name, logo or product;
- how best you can protect a particular name, logo or product, if necessary by combining different intellectual property rights (IP rights);
- when you should best register or record your rights.
In this way you avoid, for example, refusal of your trademark or design by the official authorities. That saves money (and a lot of frustration). It may also prevent the possibility in the future that your rights become invalid. Also, if you ever have to deal with infringement, you know for sure that you are properly protected – right down to the details.
What do you need to think about when registering your trademark?
There is a lot to consider when applying for trademark registration. Check these 4 steps and decide whether you want to apply for the registration yourself or whether you would rather outsource this to an IP representative.
Check the 4 steps
2. You will avoid any administrative ‘irregularities’ (or hassle, if you prefer)
Of course you can check yourself whether your trademark has distinctive character and is not descriptive. You can also check yourself whether your design is novel and has its own individual character. However, that is not everything. You also have to ensure that the administration surrounding your trademark and design protection is up to date, and that it remains so.
An IP representative knows all the registration procedures and can therefore prevent the administration from running away. That can happen, for instance, if you move or you start using a new email address; you may miss a message informing you that the period of protection of your rights is expiring. Furthermore, a representative has all the tools at his or her disposal to manage, monitor and keep an eye on your rights. You are therefore sure that your rights are up to date, as well as valid.
Frédérique Timan is a board member of the professional association of IP specialists that is the Benelux Association for Trademark- and Design Law (known as BMM): “Your brand. Your product. They are the foundations of your business. The foundations on which you must be able to build and trust. Think about the name of your company, the logo or your product design. If your rights in relation to them are not established, someone else can profit from your name (or one that is very similar to it). They might even copy your products. A trademark and design representative ensures that you and your business have optimum protection, for an appropriate amount of time and money.”
3. You get tailored advice about optimum protection – now and in the future
An IP representative is not there to sell you as many trademark or design registrations as they can. A representative gives you tailored advice about the protection that best suits your business plans and your marketing strategy. Now and in the future. That is possible because an IP representative takes time to look with you at the future of your business. This way you know what trademark and design protection is relevant for your business and what the best strategy for registration is.
4. You get support when you do business internationally
Perhaps you will have the opportunity to expand your business abroad in the future. It is sensible in that case to map out a strategy for international protection at an early stage already. Your initial registrations may be key for strong international protection.
If you operate internationally you want to avoid coming into conflict with your brand name with a party in another country. An IP representative can determine quickly and accurately what the situation is regarding the availability of your trademark abroad, and what risks you run. Also, if problems nevertheless arise abroad regarding your trademark, an IP representative has an international network of expert and experienced IP professionals who can represent you. That can save you a considerable amount of money and things can be dealt with quicker.
5. You get advice and help in the event of infringement of your rights
It is not a compliment if someone uses your name (or one that is very similar) without permission, or copies or counterfeits your products; it is simply infringement. An IP representative gives you advice and helps you with the next steps open to you and the measures you have to take in the event of infringement.
Tip: Are you looking for a trademark or design representative? Search for a professional on www.bmm.eu. Consultant representatives with accreditation from the Benelux Association for Trademark and Design Law (BMM) are certified IP representatives with up-to-date knowledge and experience. The BMM is the professional association in the Benelux for legal specialists in the field of intellectual property.