The following is an edited transcript of my video, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day and Neither is Trademark Protection
A few years back, I had an incredible opportunity to spend a week in Rome with my family and friends. It was a spectacular trip for many reasons – of course, the food, the culture, but also the history and the architecture are unbelievable. We’ve all seen pictures and read about the Ancient Roman buildings, but seeing them in person and envisioning how much thought, labor, planning, time and work went into building them was truly mind-blowing.
And the buildings provide a great metaphor because of that well-known expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. It turns out that trademark protection isn’t built in a day either. There isn’t one thing you can do immediately to all of a sudden have a strong and protected trademark — strong protection requires a series of steps over time.
Of course, any one of the important steps can be done relatively quickly and does move you into a position of more protection. But to build the complete portfolio—a complete package of trademark protection—you need to do all of these things, and it takes time.
So where do we begin? With a creative and unique brand name. That’s the foundation for building a strong trademark that is well-protected. Then we add on top of that foundation: doing a proper clearance search, filing quickly and properly to register the name, and then using the proper trademark symbols throughout while it’s pending and once it’s registered.
These steps build the guts of your trademark structure that is going to potentially stand for a long time and symbolize your brand.
However, just like a building, once trademark protection is built, it needs to be maintained. In order to ensure that the trademark strength and protection will last and continue to grow, the owner needs to be cognizant of renewing the trademark registration and filings when they come due and deal with any infringement situations if they come up.
Monitor for potential infringements, deal with them and resolve them favorably in order to maintain the strength of the trademark “building”. Much like the buildings of Ancient Rome, a trademark can stand for a really long time. In fact, a trademark registration can last forever. It can be renewed over and over again, as long as the mark is still in use. But building that strong foundation takes time, just like those buildings in Rome.
While we are comparing the expression of not being built in a day and the construction of the buildings with trademark protection, it is important to note that, over time, those buildings in Rome crumbled; they aged; they were attacked. Things happened. Some of them still stand in various portions of their original state. And that is where the buildings differ from trademark registration and protection, because trademark protection can last forever. If a brand is properly used, maintained, registered and renewed, it can last forever.
Many successful brand names have lasted for decades or even centuries. Think of Coca-Cola, Guinness beer, or Ford. Trademark registrations can be renewed over and over again and avoid the fate of those ancient Roman buildings.