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Ansons are delighted to be working with Women in Business NI to bring you a workshop entitled "Protect Your Brand".
Every business has a brand and every brand has signs, i.e. trade marks, which serve to identify their goods and services to the consumer. Adopting and securing good trade marks may play a pivotal role in protecting the growth and development of your business
Whether it's working with an existing brand or developing a new product, taking the right steps to protect your trade marks is essential. This workshop aims to help you identify those signs which identify your brand and the What, When, Where, Why and How of protecting them.
Ansons' Trade Mark Attorney, Cherrie Stewart,has worked within the field of Intellectual Property for over 20 years. As a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney, Cherrie specialises in advising brand creators and owners on trade mark protection and the enforcement of trade mark rights. She conducts trade mark clearance searches, obtains trade mark registrations in the UK, Ireland, Europe and throughout the world and advises on infringement issues enabling her client’s to be secure in the use of their trade marks as they grow.
To find our more information or to book your place at one of two events click on the links below.
If you haven’t already considered what New Year’s resolutions you should be planning and adhering to, we have a suggestion to make. Please remember to consider Intellectual Property (IP) at the start of a project. Don’t leave it until you have already made substantial progress, only to discover that there is a problem with the IP.
Protect your IP in the same way as you would any of your other business assets.
You can protect the following IP rights:
- the branding of your goods / services using a registered trade mark;
- the way your product looks using a registered design;
- how the technology works using a patent; and
- any literature or artistic work automatically using copyright.
At a minimum, at the start of a project you should record what is proposed, what problem you are trying to solve and who the inventor is. It is also worth making a list of published documents you are aware of which solve the same problem in a less effective way.
As well as making sure that you protect your own IP, you should also ensure that you do not infringe anyone else’s rights. If you want to use someone else’s IP you may be able to negotiate and come to an agreement, for example buying or licensing the relevant IP.
Be prepared to make your IP work for you. Remember that you could profit by selling or licensing your IP as well as producing a product or providing a service yourself. The better you protect your IP, the easier it tends to be to enforce it.
We look forward to assisting you with the above! Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for further info.
21st January 2020
Do you know what a trade secret is? Do you know how to go about identifying and protecting your trade secrets? Read on to find out more about how you can manage these vital assets for your business.
Trade secrets are an unregistered form of IP. There are no records maintained by Intellectual Property Offices. Your business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers by protecting your trade secrets.
A trade secret is something that is not known or capable of being reverse engineered by others, for example a practice, manufacturing process, formula, business plan, algorithm, software code, marketing information, failed test result, competitive analysis, product road-map, non-patented invention, data (raw and processed) such as client data, supplier data, test data, cost data and maintenance data.
Trade secrets are:
not in the public domain
of value now or in the future
We advise protecting your trade secrets by documenting them, by controlling and limiting access and by having a legal framework in place prior to sharing.
In order to document your trade secret, you should keep a record of the metadata connected with it to summarise basic information about the trade secret, for example:
Type of trade secret
Person(s) with authorised access
Protection mechanisms in place
Shared (and if so with when and with whom)
Expiration date (if applicable)
Reviewed (when and by whom)
Once you have documented your trade secrets, you will need to take practical steps and precautions to ensure that they remain secret to your business.
To ensure that each trade secret remains confidential, we also suggest taking the following precautions:
identify valuable information and high risk areas;
mark confidential or privileged documents as such and have written policies in place to ensure company-wide clarity and consistency;
being mindful of staff relations, consider the careful use of “mystery shoppers” to check if confidential information can be seen or otherwise accessed;
question new employees on their background so as to avoid utilising someone else’s trade secrets;
train staff continually in the importance of trade secrets, ensuring they understand the company policy;
when an employee leaves, conduct audits and ensure that all confidential documents have been returned to avoid the ex-employee taking a trade secret intentionally or accidentally, for example, check if it is permissible for your IT department to monitor outgoing document traffic in the time up to the employee’s departure;
when working with third parties, use non-disclosure agreements tailored to what is to be shared and keep date stamped records of information shared, e.g. what, to whom, when;
always follow up confidential discussions in writing affirming that, as was clear to everyone at the meeting, the information shared was confidential.
By following these simple steps, you can increase the chances of obtaining an economic advantage over competitors.