At the beginning of each financial year, every business must determine and implement an annual budget. When it comes to trademark protection, of course, no business is willing to knowingly cut corners and under-budget for potential costs.
However, there are some aspects of intellectual property (IP) protection which many businesses often forget to include in their annual budget. Failing to budget for these aspects can have significant knock-on effects if any of these services are later required by your business, or you may even find that the alternatives actually incur greater costs.
Although it is obvious that you will need to budget for the fees associated with renewals of trademarks and other IP, new registrations or the ongoing maintenance of your marks, there are many other IP services which often present unforeseen costs when it comes to trademark protection.
It may also be the case that including these IP services in your initial annual budget will actually save your business money in the long-term, both in terms of direct financial savings and with regard to resource and man-power expenditure.
Agent benchmarking services are generally underused by businesses, with many not appreciating the true worth of a benchmarking project. Agent benchmarking enables you to know how the fees you pay your external counsels measure up against those charged to your peers.
Annual budgets should be drafted so as to include fees for agent benchmarking services if your business outsources some of its IP services to external counsels. Although excluding these services from your annual budget will not result in additional unforeseen expenses, it could mean that you are overpaying for your external firms services without realizing.
Setting aside room in your annual budget for these services may serve to save your business money, thereby decreasing your overall expenditure. Indeed, agent benchmarking service have been seen to save businesses up to 40% of their original external counsels fees.
Such a result would serve to make room in your annual budget for additional trademark protection services.
Despite the inundation of online material on the risks of improperly conducted trademark searches, there still exists the opportunity for slip ups when conducting these searches.
If your business requires trademark searches to be conducted, either prior to the registration of a new trademark or during the term of an existing mark, then ensuring that these searches are conducted thoroughly is integral to your mark’s success.
Many IP services firms offer trademark searching services, whereby they conduct these searches on your business’ behalf. These firms will search all necessary databases to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to your search.
Ensuring that you budget for these trademark searching services will mean that your business avoids all of the risks associated with conducting trademark searches, namely an incorrectly conducted search, and could make you significant cost savings.
Not only are these services valuable if they highlight a potential issue which previous searches had not identified, but they are also valuable in themselves as they free up the time that your employees and external counsels will spend on conducting onerous searches. Contracting your trademark searches out to a third party provider will mean that your internal staff and external counsels are free to focus on other work.
In similar vein to trademark search services, including the fees for enforcement services in your annual budget can significantly reduce the workload of your current external counsels and potentially save you money.
With specialist knowledge of the IP sector, enforcement experts undertake the laborious task of monitoring the use of your trademarks, both online and offline. Failure to budget for these services would mean that a significant proportion of your external counsels' and employee’s time will be spent on painstakingly trawling resources to remain wise to possible infringements.
Including enforcement services in your annual budget will greatly free up the time of your current external counsels, and will mean that you can rest easy knowing that the illegitimate use of your mark is being constantly monitored.