Permanent Brand Visibility

Most of us battle to expose our brands to our target groups for just a minute a day. We produce and air 30-second TV spots worth millions of dollars. We mount billboard campaigns that, amongst the hundreds of other roadside structures, are barely noticed. It’s a fact of life these days: Ensuring your brand’s message is able to cut through advertising clutter has become an almost impossible task.

Having said that, what are your plans once your brand has achieved its audience’s awareness and your target group understands your brand’s core values, products, and services? Do you still plan to use the classic media strategies that can be overlapped, crowded out, and squeezed by competitor brands?

If your product belongs to the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand category, you’re luckier than many. FMCGs by their nature are able to secure a more permanent brand visibility than less-frequently bought goods. Your core consumers are likely to see your brand every time they open their refrigerator doors, set their dining tables, or go to their pantries. But, despite the fact that such visibility is often fleeting and habitual, how does it compare with the visibility of other brand categories, such as service brands or business-to-business (B2B) brands?

Recently I encountered a range of interesting Web-based tools that enable marketers to convert a brand’s initial attention-grab into permanent brand awareness. They’re tools that offer medium-sized and large corporations the possibility of solidifying and directing their brand images at a comparatively cheaper cost.

Let’s think about that for a second. Microsoft is probably the best-known example of a company that fights for space on everyone’s desktop. Internet Explorer had absolutely no chance to beat Netscape Navigator before Microsoft systematically established a highly visible icon and active link on most desk- and laptops around the globe. Intel is rumored to have paid a staggering $5 per computer to secure what’s perhaps the most visible spot in our daily lives — a sticker placed beside the screen, on your monitor frame.

Currently, companies offer practically unused advertising tools. But they could be emerging as the next generation of brand-building equipment because they enable brands to secure daily visibility that lasts several hours and, most important, to create brand shortcuts between consumers and their favored brands.

So, what’s the value of this concept? We can’t surmise the value of this specific tool and its achievements yet, but we know that extended or permanent brand visibility creates brand loyalty. The mechanics are simple. People tend to trust things that they see often, that they’re familiar with, more than things they see rarely. Of course, this assumption depends on the visibility being positive.

Visibility is probably the most expensive asset you can buy when you’re building your brand. It’s no coincidence that, having invested millions in the exercise, Intel and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have become what they are today. You should take note of this type of alternative thinking every time you’re constructing a truly creative marketing plan.

 

Information on How to Buy a Franchise

Tips on Finding the Right Franchise Business Opportunity

There can be a large variety of rules and regulations when buying a franchise business. Discover some of the types of franchise opportunities and associated costs.

When buying a business franchise, there are usually fees involved. Depending on the type of business, the method of calculating associated costs or fees can vary. Franchise fees can be a major expense and should be carefully considered to the expected return on investment. This article looks at some of the different types of popular business franchises and the method of calculating fees.

What is a Business Franchise?

A franchise is like a license to use the trademark name to sell specific products or services. Most franchises start out as an independent business. Once they become successful, they may try to expand by offering their business model to other potential business owners. Once a potential business owner agrees to the terms of the business model, a franchise agreement is written with certain stipulations that must be adhered to by the new franchise owner.

Types of Business Franchise Opportunities

There is a multitude of different business franchise opportunities. The following are some of the more popular category types of business franchises.

  • Food
  • Automotive
  • Home Based Business
  • Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Retail
  • Business Services
  • Mobile Business

Business Franchise Costs and Fees

Franchise cost and fees can vary widely depending on the type of business. Name recognition can also have a major impact on costs. For example, the fees for buying a McDonald’s franchise would be considerably more expensive than buying a fast food business that is not widely recognized. Some of the following are costs and fees that can be part of the agreement.

  • Startup Fee
  • Percentage of gross sales
  • Percentage of gross profit
  • Advertising fees
  • Administration fees
  • Legal fees
  • Research Fees
  • Training Fees

Besides some of these fees, there can also be minimum inventory requirements. Specialized equipment may also have to be purchased as a requirement of the agreement. Product uniformity can also be a part of the agreement where certain products must be purchased from the franchiser.

Advantages of a Business Franchise

Purchasing a franchise can be quite an expense, but there are also some advantages to owning a franchise. The following are some of the advantages of a business franchise compared with an independently owned business.

  • National advertising
  • Nationwide warranty and service
  • Name recognition
  • Specialized training
  • Product liability
  • Standard computer systems

When considering purchasing a business franchise, some research can help to make a sound financial decision. Weight the costs involved against the benefits. Create a business plan to help ensure a decent return on investment. Talk with other business owners that operate the same franchise that’s under consideration. Visit their business to get an idea of what’s involved in daily operations.

Hiring a Trademark Lawyer

Find a Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases and Registration

Although a trademark lawyer is not always necessary, in many instances one may have to find a lawyer for trademark infringement cases and trademark registration.

Either as a preventative measure or after the fact, there are many instances where it may be necessary to find a lawyer for trademark law. Although attorney services can potentially cost thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the case, and the hourly rate of the individual, the expense may be well worth it in cases of trademark infringement or complicated trademark registration. To have the most effective and efficient experience with a trademark lawyer, it is important to have a basic understanding of trademark law, and a clear expectation of the attorney legal services offered.

How to Find a Lawyer for Trademark Law

Hiring a trademark lawyer can lead to a loss of thousands of dollars or a savings of thousands of dollars, depending on how qualified and necessary the attorney is for a specific need. To find a trademark lawyer, it is important to spend the time to research potential candidates, instead of simply answering an advertisement or picking a random intellectual property lawyer from an attorney legal services listing. It is also important to have a basic knowledge of the work involved and time that will be spent in filing a trademark registration or trademark litigation, to be able to predict approximately how much a service may end up costing.

As intellectual property law covers a broad range of issues, from copyright registration to entertainment law services, an intellectual property law firm is not enough. Look for either a trademark law firm, or a specific trademark lawyer — an intellectual property lawyer who has experience with preparing trademark registrations, or defending trademark infringement cases. Find out what law school they attended and if it has an extensive intellectual property law program or not. Ask for referrals, and back check them. Also, inquire as to who will be doing the work, the trademark law, or paralegals.

Using a Trademark Lawyer for Trademark Infringement Cases

Trademark infringement involves a business or entity using the same or a similar mark as another entity that already owns rights to the mark through registration or established use. A lawsuit revolves around confusion for the consumer; trademark infringement occurs when it is unclear where a source of goods comes from because there are conflicting trademarks being used to identify a product.

For trademark infringement cases, it is important to find a lawyer who has both experiences with trademark law and as a trial lawyer. They need to be able to answer a complaint, file, and answer motions, and represent either a defendant or a plaintiff in court. Hiring a trademark lawyer for trademark litigation is almost essential as there are a number of conditions that a court will look at, which only someone well-versed in trademark law can easily decipher and make proper assessments on. To save expenses, and the trademark lawyer’s time, have all pertinent information ready, such as instances of third party use of the trademark, possible effects of the trademark infringement on business, or lack thereof.

What Attorney Legal Services to Expect for Trademark Registration

To find a lawyer for trademark registration, again, look for an attorney with specific experience in preparing federal trademark registration applications. Trademark registration can be done without legal help, however, a trademark lawyer can add insurance through their experience and knowledge of the subject. They can prevent a bad mark from being denied, and look out for potential problems with trademark infringement.

A trademark lawyer will help decide if the desired mark is a wise choice, based on a thorough trademark search, usually through a professional trademark search firm. Once the appropriate materials and information are provided, they will fill out the application and correspond between the United States Patent and Trademark Office or examining attorney during the review process. If any problems do arise with the application, a trademark lawyer can be extremely useful in navigating around obstacles.

Take the time to find a lawyer who can provide the legal counsel and protection well-worth the money that will be spent.

Intellectual Property Law

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets

The law of intellectual property encompasses four basic property rights: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Intellectual property is a property that is the result of one’s creative thought process, as distinguished from property that is tangible in nature such as real estate or personal property. The law of intellectual property consists of issues dealing with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. This article explains the four basic areas of intellectual property law.

Trademark Protection to Identify and Distinguish Goods

The law of trademark covers both trademarks and service marks. According to 15 U.S.C. §1127, the term trademark is any word, name, symbol or device used by a person to distinguish his or her goods or products from those manufactured or sold by others. Similarly, a service mark is used to identify and distinguish a person’s services from those offered by others.

According to Deborah E. Bouchoux, author of Business Organizations for Paralegals, trademarks may consist of slogans, designs, sounds, colors, and even fragrances. Marks that merely describe a product, such as “fluffy” or “zesty,” will not be accepted for registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). An exception exists for descriptive marks that have achieved a secondary meaning such that the mark is readily associated with the source of the goods.

One need not register a mark with the PTO in order to acquire trademark rights. Nevertheless, as Bouchoux explains, “registration with the PTO does afford a number of advantages to an owner, including the right to bring an action for infringement in federal court.” Trademark protection, unlike protection given to copyrights and patents, does not necessarily expire.

Copyright Protection for the Original Work of Authors, Artists, and Musicians

Copyright protection arises from the Patent and Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Copyright protects the works of authors, artists and musicians to ensure that they have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display and perform their works. The law of copyright has evolved with technology to encompass such works as software programs.

Copyright protects original works that are fixed in a tangible form of expression which can be “perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated.” Books, musical compositions, software programs, and sculptures can be copyrighted, for example, but ideas, processes or systems cannot. Generally speaking, the copyright term for works created after 1977 by individuals is the life of the author plus 70 years. The term for corporate copyright owners is 95 years from publication or 120 years from the creation of the work.

Patents Prevent Others from Making, Selling or Using One’s Invention

According to Bouchoux, a patent is a grant by the federal government to exclude others from making, using, or selling one’s invention. In order to obtain a patent, one’s invention must be novel, useful and non-obvious. There are three types of patents granted by the PTO:

  • Utility patents are granted for machines, processes, manufacturing methods, chemical compositions, biotechnology and the like. Utility patents are the most common patents.
  • Design patents protect the creation of a new, original, ornamental appearance for a useful product. An example might be a new shape for a glass container.
  • Plant patents protect certain types of plants, such as flowers and fruits.

Utility patents and plant patents last for 20 years, while design patents have a term of 14 years.

 

Trade Secrets

A trade secret is any valuable and closely guarded information that gives its owner some type of competitive advantage. A trade secret may be just about anything, including recipes, customer lists or marketing plans. The owner of the information must take reasonable steps to protect the information in order to claim the protection. No federal registration is afforded for trade secrets, but if they are properly protected, trade secrets may be kept indefinitely.

Benefits of a Corporate Identity Guide

A Style Guide Serves as a Roadmap for Corporate Communications

A corporate identity guide provides guidelines for providing consistent communications and visual design for all materials produced by a corporation.

A corporate identity guide serves as a reference for employees, designers and writers to use when developing communication materials for a corporation. The guide typically contains rules for logos, page layout, advertising, appropriate color use, layout examples and guidelines on the copy style and tone that should be used in communication materials. Although used primarily by large corporations, a corporate style guide can be a useful tool for creating consistent communication for businesses of any size.

Why a Corporate Identity Guide is Useful?

A corporate identity guide is an essential tool for any business that wants to provide consistent communication across all channels of their business. The style guide provides writers and designers guidelines to use when creating corporate communication materials so the pieces fit into the specific look and style established by the corporation. It serves as a roadmap for employees, outside agencies and consultants working on behalf of the company to use to develop materials for a corporation.

A corporate branding guide often covers various aspects of the business. Style guides often contain rules for designing signs, point-of-sale items, brochures, web sites, newsletters, and other corporate communication materials. A branding guide may also include details on employee uniform design and internal communications.

A corporate identity guide provides insight into the corporation’s culture and style and helps designers and writers work within those specific guidelines. A style guide is also useful when there has been a change in staff in the internal creative department, public relations or marketing groups. The branding manual helps all individuals within the business remain clear on the style and look business communications should follow.

How to Create a Corporate Identity Guide

Many advertising and marketing agencies can help corporations develop a corporate identity guide. However, with a little effort, a branding manual can be put together in-house.

A basic style guide can easily be put together with basic software such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Organize the style guide by visual design and copy tone. In the visual design section, provide basic rules for logo use and colors. Provide examples of inappropriate use as well. Include all the information you would need to communicate to an outside designer to conform to the established corporate identity.

In the copy section, include information about trademarks, specific phrases, headlines used in various marketing materials and advertisements. Provide guidelines regarding the language used in both formal and informal documents and any other information that would help a writer write in the appropriate style and tone of the corporation.

A corporate identity guide can help businesses of all sizes provide consistent communications across all channels of their business. The style guide provides essential information for designers and writers to reference so the work they complete conforms to a pre-established corporate identity.

 

Do I Need a Copyright?

Register Copyright to Book, Song, Invention for Maximum Protection

Artists, inventors, and innovative business owners who want to make money from their work should seek advice on protecting valuable assets.

In the U.S. Constitution, the authors believed that “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” they would secure for innovative citizens the right to benefit from their work. Therefore, in Article 1, Section 8, they gave to authors and inventors the guarantee that they could secure for limited times the “exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

At first, however, there were no administrative procedures to register or enforce this right. President George Washington addressed Congress in 1790 and encouraged the development of legal infrastructure. He and others believed that the protection of pursuits in science and literature would strengthen the country. Since then, the federal government has enacted legislation to help creators and innovators protect and make money from their work.

Common Law Copyright

In the United States, a writer, inventor, business owner, or other innovators have a common law right to protection. Any person may recover for actual damages incurred due to another party using a book, song, business model, or even a website as though it belonged to the taker.

However, if the originator of the material had not registered his intellectual property, he cannot recover more than the actual damages he incurred. These damages are often difficult to prove. What did it actually cost the artists, inventor, or business person to develop his book, song, logo, store design, or web content?

More importantly for the originator of the material who hoped to make money from his property, if his material is not registered or patented he may lose his ability to make money on the property in the future. If he has not sought to place further legal protections on the use of the property in the United States beyond the basic level, all money-making potential may be lost.

Internet and Global Business

In today’s world, every business is global. Especially if artistic works or innovative designs are available over the Internet, they can be ripped off, pirated, and used by people anywhere.

Many businesses today are operated largely or entirely online. The business owner may live in Williamsburg, Virginia. He may be communicating over the telephone and via email. He may be researching online and designing and building his website using a variety of database and software applications. But the product he wants to sell may be made in Jamaica or Mexico. His inventory may be located in a warehouse in Virginia Beach. His customer service may be provided by a center in India and his marketing by an agency in New York. An entrepreneur who operates a small, well-planned, sustainable Virginia business from his desk in Williamsburg is truly a global business person.

A global business person needs to copyright the book he wrote about his business success, patent his products or sustainable services, trademark his logo and signature product packaging, and protect his trade secrets, which may include his customer list, business plan, green marketing function, and other elements that define his business as unique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uiq42O6rhW4

Registration of Copyright

An author or artist doesn’t necessarily need an attorney in order to register a copyright. It is a fairly simple process that can be completed online. Businesses around the world who hope to profit from sales in the United States should register their property with the U.S. Copyright Office. A number of pages and publications are available on the site to answer further questions.

Owners of web businesses can and should register websites to avoid unscrupulous taking of photos and content for use by another business.

Intellectual Properties Help

Intellectual properties legal actions are usually conducted in federal level courts, not state courts. Therefore, it is best to look for legal help used to taking lawsuits to federal court, should the need arise.

Intellectual properties attorneys help artists and inventors examine their property for strengths and assets that can be protected by law. They advise a property owner on the types of legal protection that are available.

Copycats Hurt Trade

Counterfeit Chocolate Forces Lawsuit

FERRERO ROCHER chocolates with their gold-foil covers and hazel-nut centers have often been counterfeited. Then a Chinese copycat got bold… really bold…

In 1982 Italian chocolate maker FERRARO ROCHER initially began selling its products in China under the Chinese characters for the word JINSHA through a state-owned import company. Four years later, FERRERO registered its name plus its trademark graphic label (an oval shape with lace) with the Chinese Trademark Office.

FERRERO did not register the JINSHA brand name, a big mistake. Chinese copycat Zhangjiagang Dairy Factory One soon started to produce chocolates under the name JINSHA and boldly applied for its trademark in 1990. That’s right, the copycat submitted an application to trademark the name of the brand that they counterfeited.

It wasn’t until Factory One applied to register a combination of both the JINSHA name and the oval graphic did FERRERO file a protest. The Chinese Trademark Office refused Factory One’s application for the combo trademark because the graphical features and visual effects were too similar to FERRERO’s trademark graphics and labeling.

Undaunted, Factory One kept using the oval label on its packaging.

Over the next decade, counterfeit JINSHA chocolate won many awards and trophies in international, national and local competitions. In fact, Factory One’s JINSHA products became more popular in China than the authentic FERRERO ROCHER chocolates.

Part of the reason for Factory One’s success is that in 2002 it obtained a trademark for the JINSHA TRESOR DORE brand which was sold with packaging and labeling that mimicked that of FERRERO ROCHER chocolates.

And instead of focusing on lower-level retail outlets in China’s smaller cities, as most copycats do, Factory One sold JINSHA TRESOR DORE as a high-end product but with a lower price tag than FERRERO ROCHER sweets. Because of the copycat’s careful target-market distribution, International travelers would often find JINSHA chocolates on the shelves of China’s airport duty-free shops.

FERRERO decided that it had to take action and launched a lawsuit against the aggressive copycat. Because it had not registered the JINSHA trademark, FERRERO was compelled to sue under China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law – with a much harder burden of proof that would have been required under trademark legislation.

And The Winners Are

After an initially unfavorable ruling, FERRERO won its case when China’s Higher People’s Court of Tianjin ruled that Factory One had copied FERRERO’s special packaging without authorization. Factory One’s joint venture company Montresor was ordered to pay US$87,000 to FERRERO as compensation.

Montresor has yet to pay the $87,000 to FERRERO which may force the Italian company to launch yet another lawsuit.

When one considers that FERRERO has spent some US$100,000 to defend its rights in China, perhaps the real winners are the international trademark lawyers in China who earn fat fees for representing the companies embroiled in the battle for trademark rights.