We love McDonald’s. If we could we would eat there three meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. McDonald’s has been with us throughout our lives from when were children of the seventies watching Ronald McDonald to when we developed the concept for TTC Business Solutions in the early nineties. When we were young professionals all that we could afford was one Extra Value Meal per day. Often it would be our only meal on any given day.
Many of us have now spent slightly three to four decades on this planet and our love of McDonald’s remains strong. Although our dining experiences at McDonald’s are far less frequent than once were whenever we pass one of the Golden Arches almost in unison we would shout out “McDonald’s!”
So where are we going with all this? Why should you care about us and our love of McDonald’s? Because behind the food, behind the best French fries ever created, behind McDonald’s itself is the brand, their trademark.
It’s about brand awareness. It’s about every time you walk into a McDonald’s from South Florida to California, from New York City to Washington D.C. you know that those amazing fries and great tasting burgers will be just the same as the last time. Why? Because their trademark told you so.
A business’s most valuable asset is its trademark. McDonald’s has spent decades building up brand awareness and who knows how much money. As a result, you know when you see those Golden Arches you are going to get the same quality product delivered to you in the same manner every single time, no matter where you are. It’s the brand that simply, and efficiently, let’s you know.
Major companies have, for years, recognized the necessity of protecting their brands, their trademarks if you will, so that they can build consumer recognition therein. It is an invaluable part of building your business. Without your trademark consumers would not know how to get your product. Without your trademark, you have nothing to build consumer recognition in your goods or services.
If McDonald’s today were required to remove all of their signage from every restaurant, change the names of their restaurant to something generic for the respective area they are in, and move into routine spaces in strip malls how would you find them?
So how do you properly protect your most important business asset. Here are three steps that every business should do:
Prior to using a trademark you should always conduct a research to make sure that the trademark, or a similar trademark, is not already in use by another company. If you do not you risk adopting a trademark and beginning to build up good will in a brand that you could be required to stop using if you are ever sued for trademark infringement. So always make sure that the brand that you want to build is available before you begin use of the same.
Once you know that your brand is available, provided you intend to or are using the trademark in interstate commerce, you should register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Registration is relatively cost-effective and provides the owner with extra benefits should enforcement of the trademark ever be required.
Lastly, a trademark owner must always enforce its trademark. Allowing others to use the same or a similar brand to your established brand diminishes your trademark’s ability to identify your goods and services and may create consumer confusion–the type that costs you business–in the marketplace.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any related topics Contact Us at TTC Business Solutions.