Protection of trademarks?
Trademark protection is relatively easy to obtain, of central importance and very effective in supporting legal protection of a product and company name. In addition, trademarks are communicative and indispensable elements of the marketing mix.
Information about ideas, services or products is being spread increasingly faster and simpler. The company can maintain its hold on the market by means of a name, which influences the way the company is perceived. Moreover, a company or a product name expressed by a succinct term used for many years constitutes an independent value in the form of a trademark. It is usually recommended to enter a trademark in the trademark register as early as possible. Trademark protection usually pays – a regular trademark registration including ten years of trademark protection, which can be prolonged for any period desired, requires an official fee of € 300 as of now.
Nomen est omen – a registered trademark offers much more than merely the encircled R sign (for “Registered”). Sometimes international – e.g. including all German-speaking countries – or Europe-wide trademark protection provides for additional protection of a German trademark in the future.
Protect ideas – increase values?
Trademark law constitutes a part of the legal protection of industrial property rights, i.e. of the so called intellectual property. Often the term industrial property is used instead of intellectual property, both being abbreviated with IP.
However, when generalised, numerous individual rights remain unclear in detail, since there are great differences between patents (technical inventions) and copyrights (e.g. cultural, personal, intellectual work) as far as legal content and consequences are concerned. Yet, the IP rights are similar in many aspects, e.g. their purpose or monopolisation in favour of individuals. Moreover, the term intellectual property does not mean that human thoughts can be monopolised. On the contrary, ideas as such can not be protected. Rather, this reflects the immaterial character of such rights.
Although, the existence and relevance of the IP rights are underestimated because they are immaterial and characterised as “right” even nowadays, they have become a central value of many undertakings and innovative developments.
Thus, the name of a company can play a central role when determining the value, e.g. in case of the trademark Coca-Cola. There is no fixed solution on how to determine the value, since different evaluation mechanisms provide the most different results.