Virtually any food scientist could develop a caramel-colored carbonated cola soft drink that is indistinguishable from the top-selling cola brand, but none of them can legally put that beverage into a red can with a white swoosh and call it “Coca-Cola”. The vaunted security that protects the Coca-Cola secret formula is a great marketing tool, but the company’s real value lies not in that formula, but in the trademark right that it has developed in its brand over the course of many years and after spending millions, if not billions of dollars to promote that brand.
A company can derive genuine value from its marketing strategies by focusing on branding and then protecting its brands with trademark registrations. A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or image that is attached to a product or service and that serves as an indication that the product or service comes from a single source. The trademark does not identify the source. Rather, it serves to verify that the product identified by the trademark comes from one manufacturer or supplier and that it is produced according to uniform standards. This trademark source significance guarantees a consistent level of quality regardless of where a purchaser buys the product. For example, “Pringles” potato crisps purchased in Los Angeles will have the same quality as “Pringles” that are purchased in New York. The purchaser does not necessarily know that “Pringles” crisps are produced by Procter & Gamble, nor is it necessary for him to know that. It is enough for him to know that the quality of the product sold under the trademark will be the same no matter where he purchases it.
When you devote time, energy and money toward developing a brand, your best protection for that brand is a trademark registration. Once your brand has been registered, you have both a shield that protects your brand and a sword that can be used against third parties that attempt to copy your brand. Moreover, the trademark registration gives you a toehold to extend your brand via marketing licenses. Your efforts to create a unique brand image that is reflected by the registered trademark will make that trademark an attractive property to generate licensing royalties. Luxury brands such as Davidoff and Chanel generate significant revenues by controlling and licensing their trademarks to producers that apply the trademarks to items that continue to build and enhance a brand image.
Please contact us if you would like additional information on branding and on registering your trademarks to protect and enhance your brand.