Protecting Your Brand Is Critical!
If your brand isn’t protected by copyright or trademark, what do you really have to sell? And do you risk hurting your brand equity due to knock-offs and poor derivative works?
A few days ago, I was on a consulting call with a new Client. We were talking about a new brand that he is in the midst of developing and I advised that his first, and possibly most important step, is to get his trademark registered. From there, we are talking about copyrighting his artwork as well in order to create a robust collection of works to include in our style guide. I have another Client, Kimberly McSparran Designs, whose designs (for companies like Mikasa, Wedgwood and Marcel Schurman, among others) are all copyrighted.
This all got me thinking about IP protection and how important it is in the licensing and promotions business. Last summer, I read an article about the extension of copyrights which explained that the Copyright Term Extension Act will be expiring soon and will likely lead to discussions regarding another extension. If the act doesn’t get extended, artwork like Mickey Mouse and songs like Rhapsody in Blue will become public domain, meaning that anyone can use, alter and basically overextend them, in effect diluting the value of the pieces. I don’t know about you, but I think this would be quite detrimental to our business and to the future of art creation.
As many of you already know, when I launched Jenerosity Marketing, I trademarked my company name and logo. I thought it was important to protect the equity that I am currently, and plan to continue, building into the future. This protection is also important when it comes to avoiding confusion among consumers. Wouldn’t you be annoyed if you spent $1,000 on a Chanel bag only to find that the bag was a knock-off by some random bag manufacturer who just used the Chanel logo?
And as a rights holder, you want to make sure that the colors, sizes and other specs of your brand and characters conform to the specifications that you have outlined in your style guide. Once a brand or image goes into public domain, these rules no longer apply and your brand can be greatly impacted.
These are just a few of the reasons that IP protection is important when building your licensing business.