The following is an edited transcript of my video 3 Steps to Protect Your Brand in the New Year.
Protecting your brand has tremendous benefits for your business, and there are three things in particular to focus on at the beginning of the year and ensure that you are protected.
- Check your renewal deadlines for any trademark registrations you have. Whether they’re at the USPTO or internationally, look at all your registrations for any renewals that might be coming due this year. If they’re eligible for renewal, get those renewals submitted quickly so that you don’t risk losing a registration that has a built-up value. File towards the beginning of the renewal eligibility period—that gives you more flexibility if there is a problem during the process.
- Do an audit of your business and it’s branding. What are all the different brand names, logos, and slogans that you use? Are they all protected and registered to the extent that they could be or should be? If you launched any new logos, slogans, or product names, or if you’re about to launch any of those things in the coming year, have you begun the process to register and properly protect those? Look at how you’re using your brands. Are you using the proper trademark symbols? Are you making your brand stand out in a way that not only benefits its strength with customers, but that helps benefit its strength legally by separating it and making it stand out? Have you revisited your contracts with employees, vendors and independent contractors? Have you made sure that intellectual property and trademark clauses are in those agreements so that you’re building more protection for your trademarks in intellectual property? If your business has been growing and expanding internationally of late, consider whether you should be filing in any other countries to protect your brand assets. Wherever you are expanding, consider protecting your brands in other countries where you’re doing business.
- Use copyright notices where applicable on your website and on content that you create. Videos, podcasts, eBooks, articles, blog posts, visuals and images—whatever type of content you’re generating, use copyright notice. Each New Year, make sure you’re reflecting the proper year on those notices. Update the footer on the website and any other ongoing materials to note that the year of protection includes the current year.