Hospitality and Leisure: Top Tips for Protecting and Exploiting Your IPR

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With intellectual property rights (IPR) having the potential to drive growth and value for your business by delivering competitive advantages and creating new revenue streams, understanding what IPR your business owns and developing a strong IPR strategy to effectively manage and exploit such assets should be at the forefront of importance for business operating in the H&L sector.

Brands, in particular, are a critical IPR asset to businesses operating in the H&L sector for the following reasons:

  • A distinct and well-established brand which is easily identified by consumers can help to distinguish your business from your competitors and can also help to improve customer loyalty;
  • Brands that are well-perceived by consumers can often justify charging higher prices for their offerings (whether products or services), thereby increasing sales and driving growth; and
  • A well-protected brand bolstered by a strong IPR strategy can be a big attraction for investors and potential partners and can open the door to collaboration with influencers.

In this blog, our IP Solicitors will briefly discuss some top tips for building a strong brand and a robust IPR strategy.

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Hospitality and Leisure Top Tips for Protecting and Exploiting Your IPR

Build a strong brand

Developing a strong, robust, and distinctive brand from the initial stages of your business can offer several advantages (i.e., awareness, brand loyalty, and a competitive edge).

The following are some of the key points to consider at the initial stages of building a brand.

  • Do your research. Before you settle on a brand name, carry out clearance searches to ensure that the name or logo which you want to use can be used in relation to the goods and services you are providing or would like to use your brand in respect of and that it is available in all of the territories where you operate or intend to operate. You should also check the availability of associated domain names. Skipping this key step can prove to be a costly mistake if your business is found to be infringing another party's IPR.
  • Be distinctive. As a business, you want your products and services to stand out to consumers and be distinct from your competitors - so choose a distinctive name! Made-up names or names incorporating your business trading name are often easier for consumers to remember and are more likely to attract trademark registration due to their level of distinctiveness (as opposed to names that simply describe the products or what the product does).

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Build a Strong Brand

Protect and exploit your IPR

As noted above, there are considerable opportunities for those businesses that harness the true value of their IPR assets and developing an IPR strategy can play a major part in helping your business unlock such value.

The following are some of the key areas which an IPR strategy should cover:

  • Identifying IPR. Most businesses will continuously generate IPR as they grow, expand and diversify, and a process should be implemented to identify IPR at an early stage, reporting it to key decision makers in your business, clearing the IPR for use and then making a decision as to how best protect the IPR;
  • Registering IPR. Where registration is possible (for trademarks, patents and design rights) and if the clearance checks have not revealed any adverse entries, you should not hesitate to attempt to register the IPR. The H&L sector is continually developing, and with the introduction of new technologies, it has become more important than ever to protect brands and innovations by seeking registration as early as possible.
  • IPR Ownership. As IPR ownership in any content or material (created outside of the employment relationship) will not automatically vest with your business, you should develop core contracts and utilise relevant contractual provisions to ensure that ownership of all IPR created pursuant to any third-party collaboration arrangement (i.e. where you commission a third party to carry out any design or development work) or any works you are commissioning vests with your business.
  • Maximising Value and Maintaining Control. Registered IPRs are an asset that can be charged, licensed, bought and sold, and you should therefore consider how you can maximise the value of your IP (i.e. by securing funding to invest in the business or by licencing the IPR to a 3rd party to expand your income stream). As your IPR identifies your business and, therefore, your reputation, it is important to maintain a sufficient degree of control over how and when it is used. If, for example, you enter into an arrangement to license your brand, you could adopt brand guidelines and include quality control provisions, ensuring your brand guidelines are complied with, and any use of the brand does not cause any harm to your reputation and the value of your brand.
  • Educating Staff. Many IPR infringements arise due to a simple lack of understanding of what IPR is. Your IPR strategy will only be effective if it is brought to your staff's attention and they understand it. You should, therefore, invest time in training staff members on the basics of IPR and the processes implemented pursuant to your IPR strategy.  

Protect and exploit your IPR

Speak With Our Intellectual Property Lawyers

Contact Our Intellectual Property Team

Myerson's IP solicitors have extensive experience advising businesses on their IPR strategies, carrying out IPR audits, advising on the protection of IPR, and drafting agreements for the exploitation of IPR assets.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding your IPR or protecting and exploiting it, please contact our IP solicitors, who would be happy to assist.

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