This week we thought it’d be a good idea to look at one of the most important parts of a product’s branding, its trade dress. You are affected by trade dress every single day, whether you realize it or not. If we describe a white coffee cup with a green circle on it, you’ll know it’s from Starbucks. Or if we show you a bag with a red square and yellow arches, you’ll think McDonalds. Essentially, trade dress is the various characteristics that make up a product’s or package’s appearance. But how do you protect your own trade dress? And does building a brand mean marrying that packaging?
We bet you still know what company this is.
Why should you build trade dress recognition?
Because your company needs a way to immediately distinguish itself. Your brand embodies all of the goodwill and trust you’ve built into your company, and something as simple as a color, font, or even the shape of your product’s box can evoke all of those feelings within whatever customer is looking at your product. That’s why you want your trade dress to be consistent over all of your properties. Your logo, signage, site, and product packaging should all be built around some common element that inextricably ties your business with your product or service.
Business Basics started out as a way to educate would-be and current entrepreneurs on the basics of running a business, and has slowly morphed into a place where we can try to tackle some of the most common questions we get about the ins-and-outs of business ownership. But, after looking through a few old posts, we were surprised we hadn’t delved into a very, very important part of running a business – protecting your intellectual property! To help rectify this, here is the first post in a series looking at IP protection. This week we are going to look at the trademark.
What, exactly, does a trademark do?
By Keith Tully
In some situations a bit of creativity will be needed to facilitate a turnaround and get your company back to operating in a profitable manner. However, more often than not you won’t need to be an innovator to save your business, you’ll just need to consider some of the commonly overlooked recovery and restructuring options that are applicable and readily available:
1. Using Assets as Leverage to Obtain Financing
Even if you have poor credit you may be able to obtain financial assistance by using some of your assets (i.e. – equipment, inventory, real estate, etc.) as collateral in obtaining approval for a secured loan. However if you were to default on such an agreement then the lender would potentially have the right to seize the assets you used as a security, so keep that in mind before you put your home on the line.