Companies at risk by failing to protect their IP - Business Works
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Companies at risk by failing to protect their IP

Ric Williams and Jonathan Paton, Directors, Trademark Helpline Over 90% of Britains SMEs are at risk because they havent protected their brand, according to the Trademark Helpline which revealed the results of its survey into intellectual property rights this week.

More than 300 SME firms, ranging from male strippers to security companies, were polled to compile the research which revealed that 27% of businesses had not even taken basic steps such as registering domain names or checking brand names with Companies House. And just 2% of SMEs who responded had registered their intellectual property.

Of those surveyed, 27% said they had checked with Companies House, 19% had just checked out domain names with 23% doing both. But only 6% had actually trademarked their business.

Despite not being protected by law, 85% have what they consider a brand, with 80% using that brand on livery and print material and 82% using their brand online and in social media.

"It is quite astounding that so many companies havent done even the basics to protect their brand," said Ric Williams, Director of Trademark Helpline. "When you think of all the hard work that is entailed in setting up a business, it really is a false economy not to protect your brand, after all for many SMEs their reputation is what generates their custom."

"We launched our service to help businesses protect their assets with detailed Intellectual Property reports starting from as little as £49. We offer advice and support through the complexities of trademarks in the UK, Europe and globally. Even companies who have taken the time to trademark their business are not aware of how to check for potential infringements from other organisations passing off on their goodwill. We have worked in this sector for many years, so we know how to protect businesses and the pitfalls of what happens if you dont," said Ric.

"We have seen companies go under or being held to ransom by someone buying their domain name. Most commonly, we have cases where someone else has piggy-backed on their success, trading on their name and where companies have had to do a total re-brand, which is not what you want to do in this financial climate."

"Not every business can be trademarked, but we also offer a monitoring service to identify companies using similar domains or incorporating similar company names so people can take action to protect their business. With UK marks available from as little as £200 for 10 years protection and with more companies trading in Europe and further afield because of the internet, we are urging businesses to check they are properly covered."

"It may be tempting to wing it, but for a relatively small cost you can protect your business and have peace of mind," concludes Ric.

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