The Importance of Brand Protection for The Nigerian Brand Influencer
In February 2021, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, the famous Nigerian Actor, trademarked her name and the whole nation went agog. As important as the concept of trademarking is, it still seems foreign even amongst folks in the entertainment and media world.
Not everyone understands that human names, just like product names and logos, are brands and identities which need protection, especially when success and credibility have been attributed to the name. In understanding why protection is important, there is a need to understand the basics of trademark and its importance for brand and media influencers.
What is a Trademark?
Trademark is a symbol used in identifying a source of a product or service. It is important to protect consumers from confusing and misleading information. It is summarily a symbol of quality and goodwill.
Section 1 of the Trade Marks Act 1965 defines it as “a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to goods for the purpose of indicating, or so as to indicate, a connection in the course of trade between the goods and some person having the right either as proprietor or as a registered user to use the mark whether with or without any indication of the identity of the person, and means, in relation to the certification trademark, a mark registered or deemed to have been registered under Section 43 of this Act.”
Without any doubt, when you mention the name Beyonce, you can watch a movie or listen to a song knowing that there’s only one Beyonce you are expecting to see in that movie or song. This is because consumers trust certain names for their affiliation with quality and reliable contents.
Similarly, there are numerous celebrities and influencers whose names and brands influence the decisions of the public. It is not uncommon to see people, for instance, buying a waist trainer from a brand because the name of their favorite celebrity is being used to advertise it. Thus, people are trusting that celebrity enough to purchase the product. This has created an entire niche in the advertisement and entertainment industry where celebrities become “Brand Influencers.” Therefore, it becomes important for brand influencers to trademark their names.
The Importance of Trademarking Your Brand Name as a Creative/Brand Influencer
- Make Profit Off your Name/Personal Logo
Since a trademark can be described as a tangible asset, you can therefore make money for each time your name or logo is used in any media platform or printed letter with or without your consent.
This is possible when you assign your trademarked name to a third party for a fee. This means you can earn money on any product or platform where your name is associated. Conversely, you can sue any third party for using your name without your permission.
- Exclusive Right to Your Name
A registered trademark gives you an exclusive right to the name trademark. Therefore, your name becomes a marketing tool as a brand influencer, and it becomes affiliated with your goodwill and success.
Therefore, your fans and people relying on you for products or services are not confused about your name or registered logo anytime it pops up on a product. Your brand name and identity then become easily distinguishable from other similar or fraudulent names.
- Avoid Unnecessary Lawsuit
It is no news that fraudsters hide under the cloak of famous personalities to perpetrate evil. Sometimes, these innocent victims institute a civil action against the actual owner of the name. You can avoid the frivolities of such a scenario with a perfectly trademarked name and brand, which serves as prima facie evidence to the whole world as soon as it is registered.
Registrable Names for Trademarks
Not all names can be registered as trademarks. For your name, as a brand, to be registered, it must fall under the four categories of trademarks. These name categories are Arbitrary Names, Descriptive Names, Suggestive name, and Generic name.
The most registrable of these categories is the Arbitrary Names. For instance, it is easier to register a name as arbitrary as ‘Pfizer’ than to try to register something quite generic as ‘ToothPick.’
Contextually, you are required to submit only names that are not misleading, contrary to public opinion, not immoral, non-deceptive, and not identical to any trademarked name already in existence.
Also, remember that where there are two equal equities, the first in time prevails. Hence, the first name to be trademarked becomes the only recognized name of that kind, and no exact name or identical name can be registered.
However, is a trademark perpetual under Nigerian law? The answer is NO. A registered trademark is valid for seven years and can be renewed in perpetuity every fourteen years. Also, trademarks are territorial and as such, it is advisable to register your trademark in your country of interest.
Brand influencing for the twenty-first century requires a whole new level of dynamism. Names are now tangible assets that could fetch money when properly nurtured to be valuable. You don’t want to nurture your name as a brand with goodwill value only to have it used by unauthorized third parties.
You can pave new ways for yourself with a trademark name, and no matter how complex the process is, we are willing to help you walk through it. At Hectagon and Shields Solicitors, we help you open a new window of rewarding opportunity and financial freedom through the preservation of your intellectual property rights.
Pamela Udumba is a 21st century Attorney who’s practice focuses on Intellectual property and Corporate commercial Law.
CAVEAT: Note that this information is provided for general enlightenment purposes and is not intended to be any form of legal advice.