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Case study: Skating forward following trade mark success

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 23 March 2016

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Starting out as a relatively small business in 1981, stateside skates saw a gap in the market for roller skates. Little did they know that less than 30 years after this initial interest, they would be an international company and being featured in the 2015 Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100.

How did they do this is a relatively short space of time you may ask, well the answer lies in IP.

After having success in the UK, the company looked to expand further afield. The European market, specifically Spain, was next in their sights.

With their rapidly expanding consumer base, they need to ensure they were protected. To do this, they decided to focus on IP.

After taking advice, they registered 18 trade marks in the UK as well as expanding their protection across the EU. This allowed the business to ensure they were protected from copycats and would not lose their customers.

The Operations Manager, Alistair Crichton explains the benefits after getting serious on IP. He said “The business owns ten different brands, each with their own unique design and selling point. Protecting our IP ensures we can produce, market and sell our brands safe in the knowledge that we are the owners. We can take action if anyone tries to copy or pass off their products as ours. Having our brands as registered trade marks assures customers they’re getting the original product”.

Alistair also stresses the importance of international protection to prevent any outside influence on your business or customers.

Asked about the routes the company took to protect themselves, Alistair had this to say “Our in-house lawyer worked with a local firm of trade mark and patent attorneys to protect our brands in the UK and Europe. Before making our applications we checked that we wouldn’t be infringing other registered brands. We did this by searching both the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office trade mark registers”.

He also commends assistance from UK Trade and Investment who aided them with a number of schemes open to SME’s, which are small to medium enterprises. This includes help with exporting and communication barriers.

Giving an overall piece of advice to any budding SME’s, Alistair says “we would urge SMEs to invest in IP early on, even if it seems like money that could be better invested elsewhere. If you are a company which makes unique products, investment in IP is worth the investment in time and money. Otherwise you can leave yourself open to your products being copied or passed off by rival companies”.

For any further guidance, get in contact with Lawdit and protect your IP.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Ellis Sweetenham quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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