Imagery is vitally important to social media and online marketing, and the imagery that is most crucial is that which relates to your brand, such as your company’s logo. However, have you ever given thought as to how to ensure that only your own business can use that logo or imagery? This is where IP or intellectual property should come into your business thinking… So you’ve had the brainstorming session, and you feel happy that you have decided on a great brand. You’re all ready to press the button on design, marketing and launch. But then someone says “should we protect it” and suddenly you have a whole new issue to investigate and address. So do you muddle through trying to work out how to fill in a trade mark application yourself and hope that it is all OK, or do you decide to hire a professional? Whatever the element of running a business we face, all business owners will be dealing with a balance of “what can I afford” against “what can I possibly do myself”. And sometimes the lack of knowledge of who to turn to can mean that you feel that the only option is to try and do it yourself. But if you can find an expert, not only should they provide technical expertise to ensure that you get the best result, you should also save a lot of management time. So how do you decide on an IP attorney? Well many people find themselves at the door of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The IPO cannot recommend anyone, but they will usefully signpost you to the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) or to the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). Both of these can help you find qualified advisors close to you. CITMA have a very useful post code tool that will provide you with a number of experts within a sensible radius of your location. So from this array of advisors, how do you decide who to use? Well the old adage of people do business with people is a good guide here. Phone them up or email them and see how helpful they are at the initial point of contact. Do they provide useful tips, ask questions to understand you better, and/or offer a free initial consultation? Does the attorney speak to you personally or do they delegate to a team member to respond to your initial enquiry? You are planning on trusting this advisor with a very valuable asset so you need to be happy that they are the right fit for you and your business. You need to be able to get on with your advisor. If their...
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