Graphic designers, marketing agencies, product photographers – you are brand architects – you design the brand house that your clients live in and become known by. Part of your responsibility as a brand architect is ensuring that the product you deliver is a unique and protectable business asset. That’s a big responsibility.
There’s no doubt that every brand architect intends to deliver something original, but you could be doing your clients a disservice by not making sure that’s the case. A synergistic relationship with a brand lawyer is the solution.
As brand lawyers, our clients fall into two main categories: those that seek our advice at every stage in a brand’s lifecycle, and those that come to us needing a fix to their intellectual property problems. While the latter doesn’t always end in rebranding, investing in trademark and copyright protection at each stage in the brand development process is critical to maintaining and growing a company’s brand value. When brand lawyers and brand architects start working together early in the branding process, our partnership can avoid unnecessary risk, and help your client with their ultimate goal – successfully growing their business. That’s good for your business too!
So, how can brand architects and brand lawyers work together to help protect and grow their clients’ assets?
As part of the brand development and research process, brand lawyers can comment on the availability and strength of proposed company names, product names, and logos. Knowing whether a brand is unique and can be legally used and registered is invaluable information early in the brand development process.
Once the client has given the green light to a brand concept, steps need to be taken to ensure that the client can maintain the broadest ability to protect that brand. Clients should be encouraged to file trademark applications in the jurisdictions in which they will use the brand. In Canada, a trademark registration gives the exclusive right across Canada to use the words or logo covered in association with the owner’s goods and services.
Copyright may exist in the images and fonts you use to develop a client’s brand, even if they were designed by someone you paid. If you aren’t sure whether you can use it, check in with us first.
Once a piece of branding is ready for the client, consideration should be given to assigning the intellectual property rights in that piece to the client – the logo, website design, ownership of the domain name, etc. – so that the client can protect it in their name.
A successful brand will always invite copycats, but when it comes to maintaining uniqueness, we can help by monitoring the marketplace and taking action as necessary. Once a copycat is identified, our enforcement team can assist with cease and desist notices, negotiating resolutions, and litigation.
Finally, it’s important to find a brand lawyer that you trust – one that you have a good working relationship with, and one that you can entrust your clients to.
For more information, contact Ashley Dumouchel.