Do’s and don’ts when launching a new product or brand

Launching a new product or brand is not something you do in the blink of an eye. You usually have a clear plan, strategy, and goals for the launch. You make large investments in, for example, a new graphic profile and lots of marketing efforts to push your new brand.

But what you must not forget when launching something new is to protect the new trademark, both digitally and legally!

To reduce the risk of mistakes that can result in high costs in the future, we have in this post gathered some common do’s & don’ts that can be good to take into account before a launch, both from a trademark and a domain perspective.

  • Think five years ahead. It is, of course, good to start from the prevailing conditions, but it is also important to have a plan for the future when you apply for trademark protection. If you are thinking of expanding to other markets, it may be relevant to apply for protection in several regions. In, for example, the EU, the UK and the US, you can claim priority from a national trademark application within the first 6 months. If you are operating in Sweden but have plans to expand to other countries, it may be a good idea to apply for protection there within the first six-month period – then you can count the day you submitted the application in Sweden as the filing date, hence giving you an earlier right than if you would file the application without priority. For many companies, applying for an EU trademark may also be more cost-effective. This will protect your trademark in all EU member states through one trademark application to the EU Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO.

It is also important to think one step ahead when it comes to your domain names. Make sure you have the right domain names based on your marketing plan and trademark strategy. Country code top-level domains are important, partly from a protection point of view by preventing registrations by a malicious party, and partly because the ccTLD extension is preferred as the main domain on several markets, such as Finland, Germany, and China.

  • Don’t go too wide with your trademark protection but try to “think outside the box”. A trademark should protect the products and services offered under it and a too general applied for protection may result in the trademark being cancelled for such goods and/or services it is not actually used. However, it is important to have a long-term mindset! If there are plans within the coming years to launch related products or services under the same brand, it may be worth taking this into account when you apply for your trademark. Once your trademark has been registered, it is not possible to change and if you wish to expand the scope of protection, a new application is required.
  • Preparation is crucial. Before launching a product, it is a good idea to examine whether an identical or similar trademark is being used for the same or similar products. If your intended trademark is too close to a competitor’s existing trademark, there is a risk that you will not be granted protection. Within trademark law, this risk is referred to as the likelihood of confusion between different trademarks. An increasingly common trend is that many companies wish for their brands to be “searchable”. However, it is important to remember that terms that are descriptive, or that in everyday language are a common name for the product or service, cannot be registered as a trademark.
  • Keep track of your trademark. Once you have your trademark protection in place, you as the owner must keep track of your right by monitoring trademarks that are being published. If you notice that competitors imitate you or that your trademark is used by another party, you have a responsibility to act against it. Another piece of advice is to complement your trademark monitoring with domain monitoring. Domain monitoring is one of the most cost-effective monitoring services for one of the most common types of digital infringements. When monitoring your domain names, you get information if there are domain registrations that contain your names or words, so that you can act quickly if someone intrudes.
  • Have a clear structure over the ownership of your domains. Register domain names in your company name. Do not set your web agency or an employee to be the owner of your business-critical names. It is a right like any other IP and should therefore be owned by the company. With incorrect ownership information, you can encounter a lot of problems, everything from the domain being shut down, deregistered, or held hostage.
  • Do not forget to match your domain strategy with your trademark strategy and marketing plan. To create the ultimate conditions for your new brand, you should have a clearly defined strategy that matches your trademark strategy and your business goals. Start by thinking; what domain names do you need to own your part of the internet? Primary and active markets should always be prioritized, so it is also important to think from an expansion perspective. Where do we want to be in 5 years? If you register domain names in future markets at this early stage, you reduce the risk of having to “buy it back” later, probably at a much higher price.
  • Do not forget to register your names on social media.
    If you haven’t registered your name on social media platforms, there will be a risk that malicious actors may use your name to, for example, sell pirated products, which in turn may damage your company’s reputation.

Launching a new brand or product is not something that is done overnight, it requires a lot of preparation and elaborate strategies. At AWA | Dotkeeper, we have joint management of trademarks and domain names and our experts work in both areas. Get in touch with us and we will be happy to tell you more!