COVID-19 has hit the South African economy hard. However, some resourceful individuals, who have become unemployed as a result of lockdown, have pivoted and started their own small businesses, which have achieved great success within the past year. Now, however, these business owners wish to expand their businesses to continue trading beyond the pandemic. An essential requirement of creating a sustainable business is protecting its reputation and the product/ service you provide. To do this, it is advisable for business owners to trademark their business name to preserve their brand. This article will give business owners an overview of the value of trademarking their business name.
Trademarking at its core was created to protect the reputation of a business. When a business’ value is assessed, not only are the physical assets within the business considered but the income generating capacity of the business. Determining this potential income generating capacity is heavily influenced by consumers’ willingness to spend money on a business’ product or service. Consumers tend to spend money on brands whose reputation positively precedes them, hence businesses spend money on advertising and are quite pedantic about the image they project to their potential consumer base.
Your business name allows you to protect its reputation. Trademarking such name enables you to prohibit outside parties from abusing the reputation of your business. This may occur where an outside party attempts to profit off your reputation by trading under your business name and on the reputation which you have worked so hard to build up. This may result in your business losing income to a competitor. Another negative impact thereof is where such parties provide a product or service which is subpar to the quality which you provide, however, consumers have no way of differentiating between the businesses and would then associate the lesser product or service with that of your business, which undoubtedly damages your business’ reputation.
Trademarking your business name is only half of what is required to protect your brand. The next step after trademarking is the enforcement of such trademark. You need to constantly regulate your business name and enforce the power you have in your trademark. This means that once you have successfully registered your trademark you are able to identify parties who are infringing upon your trademark and compel them to stop doing so.
Another aspect to consider is the recourse available to parties who have suffered a trademark infringement. Should the infringement be severe to the point where your business has suffered severe financial loss, you may institute a claim against the infringing party.
Should you have any enquiries regarding trademarking your business name or protecting the reputation of your business please contact us. Whether you wish to trademark your business name or would like our advice or assistance in the enforcement of an existing trademark we will gladly assist.