Achieving Safe Marketing that Adheres to Intellectual Property
Part 1: Identifying Intellectual Property and its Different Types
Marketers are always busy with different matters whether they are client-related or industry changes and developments. One aspect of the marketer’s work that is often ignored and forgotten is; intellectual property. In this 4-article series, we will identify the main pillars of intellectual property in the marketing context and explore the most important considerations when shaping intellectual-property-compliant marketing strategies.We will start the series by exploring the different kinds of marketing assets that can be protected under intellectual property laws.
All aspects and cornerstones of commercial efforts can be protected under intellectual property laws and regulations. They just have to meet the requirements for protection. Elements such as logos, names, slogans, flyers, domain names…etc are considered as intellectual assets that can be important in marketing strategies and therefore can be protected. However, the protection in itself will differ from one asset to another.
A trademark is a word, sign, design, or expression that identifies a product or service of a particular source from those of others. Marketing campaigns are always introducing new signs as part of their different advertisement efforts. These signs are usually a part of sub-brands that come together or separately with the main company brand to introduce a new service or product. Being unique and abiding by the principle of novelty for marks makes these signals apt to be registered as trademarks.
This same principle applies to slogans. Nevertheless, some slogans had been denied the trademark status by some European courts due to their lack of distinctiveness. In this context, it has become necessary to check if a slogan can be protected or not before attempting to register it as a trademark.
- Industrial Design
Industrial design intellectual property protects the shape, form, color, and any other aesthetic characteristic of a product. Industrial designs can cover three- or two-dimensional features. In the same context, given that these aesthetic characteristics are an innovation that is not obvious, creative designs used in marketing activities should be able to receive industrial-design-protection.
Copyright is probably the most recognizable intellectual property kind of asset there is. It’s an exclusive right the provides specific forms of original works with intellectual property protection. White papers and newsletters can be considered as copyright assets and can be protected by intellectual property laws. It’s also important to note that landing pages and website designs can enjoy copyright protection. However, in some cases, copyright and industrial design can cross in protecting such online assets. That is not a negative occurrence as they complement each other. In most countries around the world, copyright protection is more relevant than industrial design.
Unlike other assets, copyright can be automatically considered as an intellectual asset and therefore be protected. While some people will always recommend registering copyright, it is no longer required. Any copyright will enjoy protection as soon as it’s created and without any registration effort.