What is the Role of IP in Branding?
In today’s era, it is vital to create a brand name for any company, organisation, or business where technology & competition are rapidly increasing. When a company or a business creates a unique brand name, its customers easily identify it among its other identical competitors who are dealing in a similar market. Once a company creates its brand name, it needs to safeguard its brand name from others from violating it and damaging its goodwill & reputation. This is where the IPs (Intellectual Properties) plays an essential role. In this write-up, we are going to discuss the role of IP in branding.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are the exclusive rights used by any individual over their innovative ideas, which they have used in creating a successful brand name for their company. Whether it’s your creative writing, painting, unique name of your brands or even your technology, IPRs has it all covered. It is general protection given to an individual over their creativity to safeguard their creation from others.
What is a Trademark?
Before discussing the role of IP in branding, it is important for you to know about Trademark. A Trademark is a logo, name, sign, word, or symbol, etc., for any products or services, and it’s a brand or a source identifier. A Trademark differentiates one product or service from its opponents’ products or services. It provides a brand value or recognition to a product of a company. When a Trademark is unique in nature from the products or services that it provides, it becomes easier for it to get registered. The brand name should be unique from the goods or services of any other company in the same market so that customers can easily identify such a trademark and differentiate it from its other competitors who are involved in a similar market.
India is a common-law nation; it identifies Trademark use, so it is mandatory to register a brand name or Trademark, but it is always recommendable to do so as Trademark Registration or Brand Registration provides extensive protection. For example, an individual can start using their Trademark with its products or services without getting it registered. With constant use of their Trademark, they can claim right over it. However, this right is only limited to the geographical limit within which its products or services are offered. But, if they register their Trademark, they can claim right over it. They can not only claim its right limited to the geographical limit, but they can now safeguard their Trademark globally.
Also, an individual can only safeguard their Trademark from its opponents using similar products or services or coming under Class 5; they can protect their Trademark from other opponents dealing with the products or services under a similar class.
What are IPRs and their types?
Intellectual Property Rights refer to the bunch of exclusive rights issued with the aim to safeguard the creations of the intellect of either a person or a group or an organisation separately or collectively. Intellectual Property is divided into broad classes, i.e., Copyright and Industrial Patent. Industrial Property comprises Trademarks, Patents, Geographical Indications, and Industrial Designs, whereas Copyright includes films, music, literary works, architectural design & rights concerning the same comprehensive rights of artists, broadcasters, performers, and producers.
Following are the Types of Intellectual Property:
- Patent: It’s an exclusive right given to the original inventor to exclude others from using their invention in any way without their consent. It is relevant to note that this invention can either be a process or a product that surrounds a novel or innovative solution & that the same is industrially applicable.
- Trademark: Same we discussed above.
- Copyright: It refers to the rights permitted to authors, artists, creators, and composers for their actual creative work or to artists, broadcasters & performers for related rights. Similar to Patent Law, Copyright is also a monopolistic right. It is given an exclusive right to reproduce, sell & publish any artistic, musical, literary, or architectural work created by the actual author.
- Trade Secrets: Trade Secrets refer to the business secrets which aid it again an economic benefit over others. Trade Secrets can be in the sort of confidential details, formula, process, design, data, method, which should remain with the business alone.
Role of IP in Branding – Protecting a Brand Name
After discussing the meaning of Trademark, now let’s take a look at the role of IP in branding. For every business or company in the world, its brand value is precious. A brand is the robust design, logo, name, or any other thing which a company uses to recognise their products or services by customers. A robust brand name creates a reputation or goodwill for a business or a company in a competitive environment. When a company or business has a powerful brand name, it will aid its present and capable clients differentiate their products or services from the products or services of its competitors. However, a question may arise that how to safeguard a brand name of a company?
In such matters, Intellectual Property (IP) assets can be used by a company or a business in safeguarding and creating a robust brand image for their company. There are different types of IPs that a company uses to safeguard their name, inventions, creation, ideas, etc. If a brand name only recognises the owner of a brand as the commercial source of items or services, it is deemed as a type of Trademark. A brand owner can use Trademark Registration to protect ownership rights in a brand name; these Trademarks are recognised as Registered Trademarks.
Prosecution Provisions Under the Trademarks Act, 1999
An individual can start the proceedings under the Trademarks Act, 1999, if its actual products or its brand name is misused or is stolen by any other individual. When an individual’s Intellectual Property Rights are violated by another person, remedies in the name of starting prosecution proceedings against such individual or person are provided under the Trademarks Act, 1999. Section 103 & 104 of the Trademarks Act deals with the prosecution clauses.
Landmark Judgments – Role of IP in Branding
In the matter of Allergan Inc. Vs. Millet Oftho Industries and Others was the first to join the international market or safeguarding established foreign brands under Indian Trademark Law or Medicine & Healthcare.
In this instance, the Supreme Court of India extends the protection given by the Indian Trademark Law to a well-known international brand. An Indian business or company was barred from using the Trademark OCUFLOX by the court. The decision of the court was made even the US corporation had not used the mark in the Indian market & that the mark had not been incorporated in India. The respondent, in this case, was the first to enter the market & use the mark, as per the court. Moreover, if the respondent was the first to enter the international market, the fact that they have not used the mark in India is unrelated. It also mentioned that in the healthcare & medicine sector, any changes for dishonesty & confusion should be avoided at all costs while ensuring that the interest of the public is not harmed.
Courts have constantly, through their judgments, provided the role of IP in branding, whether it is technology, fashion, medicine, or arts. From this case, we see the role of IP in branding is essential. Although the respondent company didn’t register their Trademark in India, still it was the first to enter the international market; it created robust goodwill, brand, and reputation for their company that without Trademark Registration in India, the court safeguarded its Trademark.
After discussing the role of IP in branding, it is concluded that a Trademark provides statutory safety for a brand, while a brand can be characterised as the representative part of a company’s image, which creates and develops by generating trust. Companies should be using Trademark protection to safeguard the capital investment they made in developing their brand. It is not obligatory to incorporate a Trademark, but the registered Trademark owner has vast advantages over the unregistered Trademark owner.
Trademark Registration helps to generate an exclusive right and differentiates the product from similar products sold by other entities. A Trademark provides an intangible asset that safeguards the brand for a more extended period for the owner. The Trademark owner or a brand owner has the right to use such Trademarks, symbols, and expressions. A brand requires to be safeguarded in a market like India. As an outcome, having a Trademark Registration is vital not because it is needed, but it is necessary.
Read our article:A Complete Guide on Employee Intellectual Property Agreement