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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
How a firm can protect its brand
Pepsi and Coke cans
Big firms strongly protect their brand names
Protecting a brand name should not just be something that concerns the world's largest companies.

As intellectual property expert Julian Nolan explains, even the smallest firms need to think about looking after their name.

After all, without protection, there may be little to stop another company copying your brand.

QUESTION
Paul Smith, England
I run a small but growing software firm. We are thinking of trying to protect our brand name, but how do we best go about this?

ANSWER
Julian Nolan, European licensing boss at technology firm Honeywell
A brand has the potential to be one of the most valuable pieces of intellectual property (IP) a company owns.

Strong - and protected - brands can allow customers to more readily differentiate and recognise a business, help increase margins and ultimately deliver better financial performance.

It can also have some unexpected benefits.

A trademark, which protects a brand, can also be licensed to other organisations for mutual benefit.

From an IP perspective, one of the first things to consider is whether you have adequate protection of your brand through the use of registered trademarks.

As registered trademarks are specific to a market area and territory, you will need to think carefully about where and in what markets you would like to protect your brand.

This process is best carried out in conjunction with a qualified trademark attorney.

Additionally, there are official websites that can provide general background information, although it is wise to remember that only a trademark attorney can provide legal advice specific to your set of circumstances.


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