For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Branding in a modern economy

Back in November the United Kingdom's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) hosted a Brands Conference with its partners the British Brands Group and the Confederation of British Industry.


Right: Google -- the top British brand, according to The Sun

The 28-page report, which includes a number of findings, is housed on the IPO's website here here, but if you want to bypass the quote from IP Minister David Lammy MP you can go straight here.

A friendly soul whose continued existence, and possibly his pension entitlement too, depends on retaining his anonymity, writes:
"In general terms the report does not make comfortable reading and many failings are identified : lack of appreciation of brands within Government, lack of research, high litigation costs, poor education, poor access to funding, unfavourable tax regime and legal framework deficiency to name a few.

Behind this is an inescapable fact, buried deep in the report. According to Interbrand’s list of top 100 global brands of 2009, the UK is home to just 4 (would that be Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs?) [Not while Chelsea are around, interjects one of the Kats]

What’s to be done ?

The Conference Report only seeks to identify issues and leaves any follow up firmly with Government in the shape of BIS and the IPO.

One very concrete issue to emerge is that business see the roles of Companies House and the IPO (ie in the shape of the Trade Marks Registry) as essentially similar and much greater cooperation is required to offer a one-stop shop in relation their respective services. Now this makes sense. Are trade marks really intellectual property at all ? Well, they are ‘property’, but are they ‘intellectual’?"
Four top brands out of 100? That's not so bad, says the IPKat -- that's one out of every 25, but the UK's economy and population are surely less than one twenty-fifth of that of the brand-creating and brand-consuming world. What's more, you don't have to be a top global brand in order to be an extremely valuable commercial asset. Business-to-business branding is under-represented in the Interbrand list, and the criteria for the inclusion of brands probably disqualify many extremely valuable commercial assets. Size isn't everything!

Merpel says, if businesses see the roles of Companies House and the Trade Marks Registry as essentially similar, there are two separate solutions -- (i) make them cooperate, despite their different functions, or (ii) provide more and better education of businesses to be able to tell them apart. Is it a sign of dumbing-down that we no longer expect to get the message across that company names are names of companies, while trade marks are powerful exclusionary rights?

1 comment:

Adam Smith said...

We've covered this issue a fair amount just recently. What's interesting is that while the UK government is now apparently behind brands, any initiative it launches will be so slow and slack that it will fall woefully behind the pace of business.

See "UK brands plot world domination, impeded by red tape":
http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/daily/detail.aspx?g=b31745f9-b058-4794-a0b6-2859e9f3c7a5

and "Brand politics":
http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/issues/article.ashx?g=186321fd-3023-4696-aa26-26f29a9e25e7

Adam Smith
www.WorldTrademarkReview.com

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