[Part 1 of our Brand Rights blog series]

"The higher the added value brought by the brand is and the weaker its elements are protected by brand rights, the bigger temptation and opportunity it leaves for your competitors to benefit from imitating or directly copying your brand," writes Jani Kaulo in his blog. This article kicks off our blog series delving into the strategic care and management of brand rights – not forgetting practical advice and tips for brand owners.

Brand elements into brand rights_KauloPartners

Exclusive rights to a brand are obtained through brand rights

The price of a product or service is determined based on the value that the customer perceives in purchasing that product or service. The customer is willing to pay a price equivalent to the value experienced.

The brand, in turn, is communicating this value to the customer. The brand consists of various elements, such as words, images, their combinations, slogans, the appearance of products and packages, colours, sounds, music, scents, etc. Exclusive rights to the elements of a brand can be obtained through brand rights.

What are brand rights?

Brand rights include a company's official registered names, i.e., trade names and auxiliary trade names, identifiers for goods and services, i.e., trademarks, website addresses, i.e., domain names, the design of products or packages, i.e., design rights, and content, i.e., copyrights.

Trade names are always related to the registration of a company and identify that specific company but not its products or services. A trade name cannot be licensed or transferred to another owner. Therefore, a trade name alone is not a sufficient brand right for a company.

A trademark can be any name, other word mark, symbol, or design used in business for the identification of goods and services, with the purpose of distinguishing them from those manufactured or sold by other companies. The right to use a trademark can be licensed or transferred to generate income.

A domain name is an address used on the internet to identify the location of specific websites. Often, a company's trade name and some of its trademarks are also registered as domain names. The domain name is considered an important brand right in the online environment, a secondary identifier alongside the trademark.

Design rights cover the appearance of a product or package or part thereof, manifesting from the features of the product or its decoration, such as lines, outlines, colours, shape, surface texture, or material. A logo used as a trademark or business symbol can also be a registered design right.

Copyright protects various works of creative effort, such as videos, brochures, website layouts, texts, or images. A logo used as a trademark or business symbol, surpassing the threshold of originality, can be protected by copyright.

Brand rights increase brand value – you get a better price for your products and services

All these brand rights have in common that they grant the holder exclusive rights to exploit the respective brand element. The distinction between brand rights is not like the borders of countries on a map; especially visual trademarks, design rights, and copyrights may overlap as forms of IP protection. However, the commonality among all brand rights lies in the value they bring to the price of a product or service. The higher the added value produced by brand elements is and the less they are protected by brand rights, the more they attract and enable competitors to benefit by imitating or directly copying brand elements.