Trademarks are not just about keeping up with the Joneses.
Could you list all of your company assets if you had to right now? Do you know how much each of those assets are worth, relative to the overall value of your company?
A trademark is more than a sexy business name, a well-designed logo, or a catchy slogan. Those things are nice, but a company can have all of the above and still be broke. The most significant thing about a trademark is its value as an asset. In 2011, Google’s trademark was valued at $44 billion, which was 27% of its overall value as a company. See Sean Stonefield, "The 10 Most Valuable Trademarks", Forbes (June 15, 2011).
Now I know that you’re sitting here today and thinking “I’m not Google”. (Unless of course you are Google, in which case congrats on your intellectual property accomplishments). But the principal is still the same; 27% is a significant chunk of any business. If the value of your trademark takes up approximately a third of the value of your business, that is a big deal.
Now I don’t know what the exact percentage is for your company. But the point is this: your trademarks are assets, not just cute toys. They are an intangible asset, something you cannot touch or feel, but they are an asset nonetheless.
If you want to continue to make money from this asset, there are some rules of engagement.
Assets Need Protection
Just like any other asset, trademarks are vulnerable to being lost if not properly protected. Some assets are protected using insurance. Others are protected by physically storing them in a secure location. Trademarks are primarily protected via registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Assets Need Maintenance
As with other assets, trademarks need to be maintained. In fact, if a trademark owner does not properly maintain their trademark, the USPTO will cancel it. This may seem harsh, but the Trademark Office takes its job very seriously. Properly maintaining a trademark includes things like filing renewal notices, continuing to use the mark in commerce, and ensuring that trademark license agreements enforce your control over the brand.
Assets Can Appreciate
Assets can be either appreciating or depreciating. For example, if you own a car, that is unfortunately a depreciating asset. As soon as you drove it off of the lot, it began to lose value. In contrast, a home (in a normal economy) is an appreciating asset; something that gains value over time. If your business is increasing in revenue year over year, you’ve likely got an appreciating trademark on your hands.
Assets Can Build Generational Wealth
Last but not least, a trademark is an asset that can be passed down. Unlike copyrights and patents, which expire over time, a properly maintained trademark can continue indefinitely. This makes a trademark a great candidate to be included in a will and passed down with the rest of an estate.
Trademarks and Wealth Building
Bottom-line: trademarks can be an important part of your wealth-building strategy. In order to get the most value, it’s important for businesses to treat intellectual property as an asset, not just a nice trophy.
Thanks for reading the Bevel Law Blog! While this information is hopefully helpful to you, nothing in this blog is intended to be legal advice. Always consult a lawyer before making any legal decisions based on topics in this blog.
Ready to trademark your brand and start legally protecting your name recognition? Book a call today at bevellaw.com/call.