Protecting your cosmetics brand
Have you ever thought about how you would protect your beauty brand if another business tried to use your name or logo design? This month on the blog I’m sharing some essential advice on protecting the IP associated with your brand from Trademark Attorney Pollyanna Savva.
If you are investing in the development of new cosmetics products, you will need a strong and compelling brand to attract consumer attention.
Many cosmetics entrepreneurs are excited at the prospect of creating a new brand name or logo and developing a brand identity, but relatively few will stop to consider what could go wrong if they fail to protect their intellectual property.
Without a trade mark registration or other IP protection to rely on, brand owners would not have the means to stop copycats producing replica products bearing a similar name or logo design. It is also worth noting that a trade mark registration is a first-to-file right, which means it is important that you register it first to prevent a copycat from beating you to it, which could cause problems further down the line.
Here are some simple steps to ensure that your intellectual property rights are properly protected:
Step 1 – IP strategy – Every cosmetics entrepreneur should ensure they have an IP strategy in place that is aligned with their business plan. Trade mark protection will be required from the start and is typically used to protect brand names, logos, marketing phrases and hashtags. Registered designs are useful for protecting the design of your product’s packaging.
Step 2 – Distinctive – To secure a trade mark registration for your brand name, it must be distinctive. In other words, it must not directly describe your product e.g. ‘Soap’ for a bar of soap. It should not be commonplace either, e.g. ‘Your Skincare Essential’ for a cosmetic product.
Step 3 – Clearance Search - Before getting started on designs for a new logo or brand name, a clearance search should be carried out to ensure that the chosen logo or name is free to use. This will minimise the risk of infringing someone else’s rights.
Step 4 – Consider the future - If you are planning to sell your products overseas, consideration should be given to international trade mark protection. You may need professional advice on the best approach.
Step 5 – Be prepared to enforce your rights – In an industry rife with ‘dupes’, a willingness to enforce your IP rights where necessary could be a matter of survival. When you are just starting out or building your brand, it is important to take action against copycats as soon as possible to prevent them from encroaching on your customer base.