Trade marks and brands "overlooked"

Sharing the same vision, singing
the same tune -- ITMA and BBG
The IPKat learned today that his friends at the British Brands Group (BBG), together with the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA), expressed serious concerns that recent speeches and announcements from the UK's Coalition Government and its specialist arm, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), have overlooked trade marks and brands as key elements and drivers of economic growth. According to their joint communique:
David Cameron: feeling a little
Husky after all those IP speeches?
"In David Cameron’s speech in Shoreditch last week [reviewed by Matt the Kat here], announcing an independent review into how the intellectual property system can drive growth and innovation and how our IP laws can make them fit for the internet age, the whole emphasis was on copyright and patents with trade marks being ignored in any of his, or his Minister Baroness Wilcox’s, comments. This is despite trade marks being hugely valuable and important to the UK economy.

A passing Nod ...
Similarly, a keynote seminar last week on Intellectual Property, Innovation and the UK Economy at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum [yes, Matt the Kat was there too] focused on copyright and patents with only the most passing of nods to trade marks. The question the Group and ITMA has to ask is whether the government, in seeking to drive growth and innovation, is missing a trick?

Maggie Ramage, President of ITMA, said: “The role of trade marks as signs of origin for consumers was rightly recognised but perhaps their more important role as motivators for business to invest in reputation, value creation and responsibility, and as essential ingredients in brands was missed. This suggests trade marks are under-valued, even ignored, in the debate on innovation and stimulating growth in the economy.”

John Noble, Director of the British Brands Group said: “Brands, and the trade marks that underpin them, can be immensely valuable to the companies that own them and to the wider economy. Vodafone is arguably the UK’s most valuable brand, being recently valued at $44billion , and a recent study has shown that investments in branding represents 12% of all intangible investment in the UK economy (comparable to the total investment in scientific R&D) [Merpel wonders, if 12% of intangible investment is already pouring into brands, perhaps there's no need to emphasise their importance. No, says the IPKat, it's only 12%]. Brand values are grown by companies consistently providing differentiated, value-adding products and services that appeal to consumers, and require high levels of creativity and innovation if they are to remain relevant and to succeed.”

In a joint statement they said “The link between innovation and branding is twofold: brand reputations act as a spur to ongoing innovation in product performance which in turn drives economic growth [In a joint statement the IPKat and Merpel add: this is so true -- think of how branding has driven constant innovation in such basic and prima facie non-innovative areas as food, clothing, furniture and household products like detergents]; and branding supports the take-up of innovation by consumers, providing consumers with the confidence to try out new ways of living and working. Original ideas and new ways of thinking are important but they must be commercialized successfully to generate wealth. That is where trade marks and branding have a significant contribution to make.”

“The Intellectual Property Office has warned against the special pleading of lobbyists, calling for a broader discussion on prosperity and growth. As organisations that provide the voice for trade marks and brands in the UK we certainly have a special interest but are keen to contribute to the wider debate [it is arguable that both ITMA and the BBG represent so many different interests in the marketplace that it may be unfair to categorise their case as special pleading at all]. However trade marks and brands seem not yet to be on the policy radar in terms of generating much needed growth and enhancing the UK’s global competitiveness.”
The IPKat agrees. Look how much wealth has been innovatively created by aspirational brands such as Nike and Virgin, which indicate neither the place of manufacture or the supply of a service nor a specific manufacturer or service provider, and you can see the attraction of investing in brands.

Merpel says, if I were going to invest in a new super-brand for Britain it would be Maggie Ramage.  This striking name has everything going for it.  The pet name 'Maggie' is shared with Margaret Thatcher, who was known for her combative character and forceful leadership both in war and in peace; 'Ramage' is even better.  Connotations of 'Ram', 'Rampant' and 'Rambo' are all there for the asking, with the risk of 'Damage' if ignored. Go for it!
Trade marks and brands "overlooked" Trade marks and brands "overlooked" Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, November 08, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Unlike patents and copyright registered trademarks have a potentially infinite life. They need little attention apart fom ensuring they do not become generic and their modest renewal fees must be paid. The book "Trademarked" by Newton gives details of over 200 extant marks a century old; in some cases their estimated current value is given. Perhaps Baroness Wilcox should be sent a copy.

  2. I agree that MAGGIE RAMAGE is a great name for a brand. She should be trademarked. That would give a whole new meaning to the term Registered Trademark Attorney.

  3. Of course the issue would be deciding what she does... it's much more fun toleave the innuendo hanging I think.

  4. I thought everyone knew that Maggie Ramage is a type of fruit cake intended to be eaten with cheese (yes, seriously, ask anyone from Yorkshire!).


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