Time for a trademark audit?

By Nicolas Maes,
Strategisch merkenportfolio beheer: Snoeien doet bloeien

Undertaking a regular trademark audit ensures your brand portfolio remains relevant and robust in a rapidly changing market. Nicolas Maes explains the role of auditing in strategic brand portfolio management, including how pruning can make you prosper. 

Companies need to evolve to remain competitive and relevant in a fast-changing market, and the same applies to their brand assets. As technology advances, consumer preferences change, and global and local economic landscapes shift, trademark and design portfolios risk being left behind if they are not periodically reviewed and updated as business strategies adapt. A regular trademark audit provides the discipline and methodology needed to keep brand portfolios aligned with overall business priorities, thereby ensuring companies maintain competitive advantage and maximise growth opportunities.  

Four reasons to undertake a trademark audit 

There are several reasons why an audit of your brand portfolio is an essential step for success:  

  • You may be launching new products or services with new branding;    
  • You may be rebranding your business or products;    
  • You may have expanded the goods or services you use with your current brands; and/or 
  • You may have expanded, reduced or ceased your activities in some overseas markets.  

Each trademark in your portfolio represents an investment of time and resources to manage and maintain. With a trademark audit, you can identify those rights that offer a return on that investment to your business today and those rights which have become obsolete and/or irrelevant to your business strategy. By assessing those results in the context of past, present and future commercial and legal value, you can. make informed decisions about whether to retain certain trademark rights.   

Prune to prosper with a trademark audit 

By identifying trademarks that no longer have strategic commercial use or value, you can free up resources to strengthen your IP portfolio to reflect your commercial realities. Those freed-up resources can be invested in new brand initiatives (filing new trademarks), exploring untapped market opportunities (expanding your portfolio geographically), or strengthening your brand positioning in existing markets (by filling in any gaps in the goods and services you have protected), for example.  

With a regular trademark audit, your portfolio will be a more dynamic and resilient entity that can adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. By checking whether your trademark rights reflect your commercial reality, you can examine the value of each right in your portfolio and weigh that value against the necessary investment of resources and time to maintain it.  

To find out more about the trademark audit process, download our trademark auditing white paper, speak to your Novagraaf attorney or contact us below.  

Nicolas Maes is a Trademark and Design Attorney in the Ghent office of Novagraaf Belgium. 

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