Trade Marks: Protect your brand from day one

When it comes to starting out and building your name, there’s some do’s and some don’ts that should be at the top of your agenda.

  • Do run clearance searches before you commit to a new beer name or new markets – ideally a full search in your home/most important markets, but at least identical screening searches in others. Think laterally – not just other beer names but also soft drink, wine and even bar names could be a problem.
  • Do your own checks at the UKIPO, on Google and the usual beer databases like BeerAdvocate and Untappd, before getting professional advice to identify the biggest problems – and have a few possible names as back-ups (don’t get wedded to a single name too early on). Make sure you don’t get caught out and forced to rebrand at a critical moment which will cost you valuable money and management time.
  • Do file applications early on – especially if you’re talking to third parties. This proves the name is yours (disputes in collaborations are not uncommon) and avoids the risk of distributors, retailers or other business partners stealing your name. It also gives you valuable rights early on, before you have common law rights (resulting from sales).

Further down the line, having the right protection in place also shows to investors/purchasers that you know how to manage risk and protect your assets – think ahead to future due diligence and how your business will be perceived and valued.

In this industry, your beer and brewery names could well be the most valuable thing being invested in/sold, so make sure they are properly protected.

Read this article in full on the Brewers Journal’s website here.