Some of the most valuable trademarks are also the most recognizable company names: Google, Microsoft, Walmart, Mercedes, and others. However, trademarks protect more than corporate names. They also safeguard logos, designs, product names, taglines, and more. Furthermore, trademarks are not simply for Fortune 500 companies, either. Smaller organizations rightly rely on them too and, regardless of the nature of your business, you should never underestimate the potential value a trademark holds for your brand and, by extension, your company.
It is now widely believed that trademarks are a substantial portion of intangible value for companies, and intangible assets now account for approximately 80 percent of the value of an average U.S. company. That figure is substantially larger than it was even a few years ago and continues to grow. It is hard to ignore the math. Trademarks have become so valuable because they actually generate revenue.
Trademarks help distinguish your company and its products and services from the competition, making it easier to build trust with customers and, ultimately, attract and retain them. A trademark can function like a promise, becoming synonymous with a level of quality or service customers can expect and count on. It is the reputation of a particular brand. This brand recognition sways purchasing decisions and drives revenue generation, as does the fact that when certain products and services are trademarked, the competition is shut out from offering the same and thus revenues are maximized.
There is no more effective communication tool than an image, brand name, or tagline that succinctly conveys so much information. Trademarks tell a universally understood story about your reputation, your quality, your differentiators, and other intellectual and emotional attributes. Trademarks are valued both on their income history, as well as probable future sales and profits. Essentially, as your business reputation grows, your brand and trademarks become more valuable. And even though they make you money, they require minimal investment. The United States Patent and Trademark Office charges around $275 to obtain a trademark, and they are equally affordable to maintain.
Trademarks can also make it easier to expand your business into other industries or geographies. They can be bought, sold, or licensed, facilitate merger and acquisition activity, attract financing, and enable more effective recruiting. In more ways than one, Intellectual Property (IP) has become a coveted source of revenue.
With increased digitization, however, trademarks are becoming more difficult to protect. Information is shared online at such a dizzying pace, it is easier than ever before for competitors to embrace your ideas. Without trademarks, there is no recourse for this, meaning that a competing company could easily profit from another’s ideas, in some cases more so than the originator. Although IP disputes are becoming more common, they are much easier to resolve when you can point to trademark protections.
Most of today’s industries are rife with competition and when you create a trademark, you give your company the opportunity to differentiate itself from the pack. A well-executed trademark is specific enough to help you stand out, distinctly identify your business and, hopefully, your values. Most importantly, trademarks help generate more revenue (new and recurring) and protect those profits and your market share from others that are eager to erode it.