â€˜Princess in Businessâ€™ â€“ Trade Mark the character of your company
Female entrepreneurs are setting up shop everywhere and it is important not to overlook the necessity of registering a trade mark for your business name or logo. The ambition of every new business is to develop the brand into an established house hold name and the most important asset of your business will most likely be the name of your company.
What’s in a name? The name represents where the goods/services originate from and provides the standard expected from this brand.
Registering a trade mark is essential for a new business as a trade mark will provide you with the exclusive rights to use the mark or logo. If you trade mark the brand name whilst the company is still new then you will have many advantages:
- You will be secure in the knowledge that only you can trade under that name making your brand more distinctive
- A trade mark enforces the strength of the brand, reducing or eliminating confusion about where the products/goods originated from
- Upon registration of the trade mark you will be able to licence, sell or franchise your trade mark from the beginning of the company
However, women have not always had the equal opportunity to work. The evolution of female working freedom can be seen by a familiar timeline- the representation of women by Disney.
First on the silver screen appeared Snow White, in the 1930’s. Albeit beautiful; the fair- skinned, shy princess was only capable of singing, cooking and cleaning whilst she sent off the men to work. The story of Snow White can be represented by the trade mark red apple which induces her coma.
In the 1950’s we were introduced to Cinderella, an enslaved housekeeper. She was deemed unable to do anything else, and none of her female counterparts were in employment either. Well known for her trade mark heeled glass slipper and being rescued by’ Prince Charming’, it was portrayed as the norm to be a kept woman. Disney however, did not underestimate the influential power of this character and quickly registered the name ‘Cinderella’ as a trade mark.
The 1950’s also saw Sleeping Beauty, and well the name just says everything!
As the decades pass and we reach 1992, we find Jasmine, the first non-Caucasian Princess represented by Disney. It only took 60 years! This Arabian Princess decides that she wants to marry for love rather than security, a small step in female independence.
In 1995 Pocahontas showed promise in the world of work. She was at one with nature and presented a strong attitude by being active and hands on.
1998 saw Mulan taking Disney’s leading ladies from the kitchen to the battlefield. Mulan is depicted as a strong, moral character who disguised herself as a man to work as a soldier, saving her elderly father from having to go to war. We can now see huge advances in the way that Disney has represented females.
In 2009 Disney advanced in leaps and bound with the animation, ‘The Princess and the Frog’. Leading lady Tiana is the first black, American princess depicted by Disney. She is also the first female portrayed so far that has paid employment, and dreams of setting up her own business. The animated film ends with Tiana managing her own restaurant. It took nearly a century but Disney has finally evolved from the original cleaning, singing housekeepers to the business- running entrepreneurs.
All the names, pictures and logos of the aforementioned Disney princesses have all been protected by Disney through trade marks. Currently Disney have a portfolio of hundreds of trade marks; providing them with the power to exploit these characters commercially.
Although the representation of women by Disney still isn’t fully up to scratch all of the principal female characters had a trade mark feature. Whether a glass slipper, a red apple or a magic carpet, the women are all instantly recognisable. Make sure your brand attains that level of fame by registering a trade mark. As a woman setting up your own business it should be administered properly. Registering a trade mark is integral to this process.
Registering a trade mark has countless economic and legal advantages; for instance, if someone is using your trade mark without permission, it is much easier to take legal action against them if the trade mark is registered.
Registering a trademark provides official notice to others that a trademark is already taken; consequently, a company that later adopts a confusingly similar trademark cannot claim ignorance of the mark. Additionally, registering a trade mark allows Trading Standards Officers or the Police to bring criminal charges against counterfeiters if they use your trade mark.
In 2011 the Intellectual Property Office produced a report on the incentives of registering a trade mark. The findings indicated that companies with a trade mark were on average 21% more productive than those who don’t use one. Additionally, firms who use a trade mark have a higher margin of employees and rate of growth in turnover; 6% faster than those who trade without a registered mark.
In conclusion; the benefits of registering a trade mark are infinite. A registered trade mark provides a greater level of protection; both legally and commercially, whilst distinguishing the brand from similar traders. Statistics from the IPO also indicate better productivity and faster rate of growth than companies who do not use a trade mark. Please view the full 2011 report at: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipresearch-tmincentives-full-201107.pdf
Women are no longer bored- they are running the board room!
This article was written by Saowanee Kristin for Lawdit Solicitors and Trademarkroom © December 2013
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