Do you know one of the worst part of my job is? Telling someone who has just invested hundreds and thousands of dollars in branding that their new brand infringes on someone else’s and they have to start all over again. It’s the worst. Fortunately there’s one thing your brand strategist or graphic designer can do to avoid this devastating and expensive scenario.
If you’ve followed me for a while or taken the Own Your Genius Challenge you know that I am a HUGE advocate of completing trademark clearance searches BEFORE you commit to a name, logo, positioning statement or any other brand identifier. The challenge is most people bring on outside parties to help them during the branding phase and those people do not have an attorney to advise them whether or not what they are creating can be protected from third parties. Today I’m going to tell you not 3, not 5 but 7 reasons your brand strategist or graphic designer needs work directly with a brand attorney while developing your brand.
1. You are hiring them to create something magical and unique for your brand and that’s what they will do. Most graphic designers and brand strategist are brilliant in their realm of genius but they do not have the knowledge or required license to advise you on whether or not what they create is not infringing on someone else’s brand. The United States Patent and Trademark Office looks for similar not same which means your designer could develop something that unique in that it is not the same as anything else but if it is similar you have a problem. Also, I’m fully aware that there are some designers and consultants out there who claim to be able to advise their client’s in the field of trademarks. But known this, it is illegal for a non U.S. licensed attorney to do so and that using a non license attorney could jeopardize your application.
2. When your designer works with an attorney they can present the attorney with their concept for clearance to make sure the concept is not infringing on someone else’s brand BEFORE you all move forward and finalize anything
3. If the mark is clear you can move forward with protecting the mark while you’re in the brand development phase which will reduce the chance of someone else using your mark or something similar before you launch. Thus again eliminating the need to rebrand.
4. Your designer’s relationship with a brand attorney creates trust and credibility with you as the client. Knowing that your new brand isn’t infringing on anyone else’s is a huge confidence boost as you move forward building your brand.
5. The more projects your designer works on with a brand attorney the more they’ll learn about the dos and don’ts of trademarks that can applied to your future projects. For example, I tell a client they can’t use industry standard terms in their mark and expect to exclude other’s in the field from using it they know not to make those terms the meat of the mark and will apply that knowledge when working with you.
6. When your designer works with a brand attorney that attorney will advise the designer to include the proper language in their contract to ensure that you own all the rights to the final product. Remember just because you pay for it doesn’t automatically make it yours.
7. It saves you time and money to have everything done at once. The money part is true although it may not seem like it. Trust me it is definitely more cost effective to have preventive measures in place like trademark right away than to have to pay to get your mark after someone beats you to filing.
I work with a few ad agencies/ brand strategist who include my services in their packages so I’m providing first hand knowledge of what that experience looks and feels like. The next time you hire someone to help you with your brand ask if they have a brand attorney on their team, if not send them my information so we can create the ultimate experience for you.
If you want to learn more about not only trademarks but intellectual property in general, join my free 5 day Own Your Genius Challenge. Here's link to enroll.
Until next time, keep building your brand and owning your genius
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