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The Trademark Value in a Fashion Business

As a fashion enterprise with a long term plan, it is vital that such enterprise is protected. A fashion business is a valuable asset and every precaution should be taken for its protection. One way of protecting your fashion brand is through trademark registration.

A trademark is any word, name, symbol or design or any combination used to identify and distinguish a fashion product from other fashion product.

As a fashion entrepreneur, if you are not into fashion production but into the provision of a particular service like image consulting, you can also protect your service by registering your Service Mark. A Service Mark is meant for companies that do not produce or deal with tangible goods but rely mostly on their services as their key products for example consulting and advertising.

According to Section 67 of the Nigerian Trademark Act:
     “Trademark means, except in relation to a certification trademark, a mark used or proposed to be used in relations to goods  for the purpose of indicating a connection in the course of trade between the goods and some person’s having the right either as proprietor or as registered users to use the mark…a mark deemed to  have been registered I see section 43 of The TradeMark Act”

Why should you register?
As a brand you need to register because you need have the exclusive right over your brand. The TradeMark registration is evidence that the registered proprietor is the brand owner. In Nigeria, once a trademark is registered, the trademark lasts for an initial period of seven years and it can be renewable for a further period of 14years. The period varies in other countries.

The value of a registered trademark in a fashion business cannot be over emphasized.  So many fashion SME’s believe that there is no need to register their trademarks… Wrong!

In the  Ultimate Insider’s guide by Andrei Mincor, A profound lawyer once stated:
“We hear this from business owners all the time: oh we’re too small, it’s too early. We’ll think of trademarking once we grow bigger…”  If your business was created with a plan for the future then it will be smart that you do the needful.

Trademark can add value to a fashion brand in so many ways. Most fashion brands develop a bond with their customers through their brand name and some brands protect these through the registration of trademark. This approach is primary for fashion SMEs. A good example of a brand that registered its trademark early is the luxury brand: Louis Vuitton.

The world’s most valuable luxury fashion brand which started in 1854 operates as a leather goods company, in order to legally protect the brand Louis Vuitton from counterfeiters, the brand adopted new monogram canvas designs.

One of the earliest was Louis Vuitoon Checkered Damier pattern which was first created in 1888 bore the logo that read “marque L.Vuitton depose” which means “L.Vuitton registered trademark”. The brand recognised the value of having a protection. In order to protect your trademark registered.
In the words of The International Trademark Association
“The value of a trademark lies in the good will associated with that trademark. Good will is an intangible asset that provides added value to the trademark owners worth” A trademark is the representative of the qualities and standard of a brand, failing to register your trademark damages your brand and its reputation and it also puts your brand at a great risk.
The protection of your brand should be important to you. In order to protect your brand identity there is a need to register your trademark. The brand “Eleven” by Venus Williams  lodged an application to register the brands trademark in Nigeria on May 5th, 2017. Despite being an international brand, this brand understands the value of a registered trademark in whatever jurisdiction it operates.
 
The Fashion Label “ELEVEN DESIGNS” is trademarked under class 18 which covers; tote bags, duffel bags, bookbags, backpacks  and class 25 which covers  athletic wears and other relatable wears.
80% of SMEs fail to register their trademarks some lack understanding while some others feel it is of no use. If your brand is an asset to you, you will apply to register your fashion business trademark today if you haven’t. Contact a lawyer in order to register your trademark.
Kindly share your opinion in the comment section or send a mail to africafashionlaw@yahoo.com
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