Branding and Trademarks

By Kumu Handa, Consultant Intellectual Property

Ever wonder why our parents gave us names? Simple… so that we could be distinguished and easily identified. Yes sure, we could all have been numbered instead, ie child number 1, 2, 3 and so on, but then how would that have worked in communities, cities, countries and further, on a global scale if every family had children named 1, 2 and 3? How would we distinguish one from the other? So even though we are all part of the ‘one’ human race, we have all been given specific names ‘per each human being’ which helps us to be distinguishable for our properties. Hence a human named Einstein became synonymous with genius, a human named Freud with psychoanalysis and a human named Columbus with adventure and discovery.

And that is what branding and trademarks are all about. Giving your product or service distinguishing features such as brand names, slogans, logos, colors, sounds, packaging etc distinguishes their quality and characteristics from other goods/services of similar nature. So even though it might all be about sodas, the minute you hear the words Coke, Pepsi or Miranda, 3 different images and feelings pop up in your brain. Each soda has it’s own characteristics and brand loyalty; and that is Trademark.

What does a trademark do and why trademark at all?

It’s good karma! Giving your product a name or logo or a distinguishing mark simplifies life for your customers. It makes it easier and more time efficient for your customer to find your product time and time again without confusion. It enables them to repeatedly enjoy a quality and a product that satisfies their needs. It ensures to a certain degree that they do not mistakenly buy a similar product of another manufacturer at a quality that they may not be satisfied with and may never have wanted in the first place. If however, karma is not your thing, then let’s talk about what a trademark can do for you.

The more you market your goods under your trademark, the more the public comes to recognize your goods over the many other products in the market. In a competitive world such as ours, brand recognition plays a huge part in your sales figures and your profits. Once your brand gains momentum it then falls into the high risk category of being coveted and this is when unscrupulous competitors and sharks swoop in and try to jump on the bandwagon of the goodwill you have so painstakingly built with the public. Master copycats will borrow anywhere from your word mark, your logo, your packaging, your slogan and even the colors that now signify your product. Customers will look at similar goods now boasting close copies of your mark and be confused or convinced that this is a sister brand and worthy of purchase in place of yours. And just like that, your brand is diluted and a new struggle has begun. It is at this point that deep regret sets in if your Trademark has not been protected from the get-go. A simple application to register your mark at the early stages of incorporating your company or launching your brand would have saved you much sorrow and ensured you continued brand earnings. My advice to you is, it’s never too late, pull up your socks and go register your trademark!

Kumu Handa is an IP Consultant for JNP Legal. For further information on registration/protection of trademarks, you can contact her at