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Surprising truths about trademarks

Mark Tomkins - Creative Director at Aubergine
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Aubergine is no longer just our company name – it has been registered as a trademark. In light of this we explain why trademarks are good for business.


We’ve all heard the saying “a picture tells a thousand words”. Logos and branding are your way of making this a reality. When we develop a brand identity, it stops people needing to read the company name each time and instead lets their brain do a shortcut via a picture.

This mental picture could be nothing to do with the company name (famous examples are the Starbucks mermaid and the Nike tick) or they could be the name using a specific typeface and colour (think Ikea or BBC). It’s this at-a-glance recognition that is so valuable – and therefore needs protecting. The fact that you could instantly picture those brands from my short description shows how good our brains are at remembering image shortcuts.

The scary truth is, that without trademarking your name, key products or services, they can be copied or imitated relatively easily.

For example, if your business sells high-end jewellery near Glasgow, another company could use the same company name to sell cheap knock-off jewellery in Manchester without you being able to do much about it. This could limit expansion of your business.

You could even face the nightmare situation of someone else registering your brand and logo! Trademarking lets your business hold on to its valuable brand reputation and makes it easier to deal with imitators – across the whole of the UK.

Once you’ve got a trademark, it becomes a commodity in its own right. This means you can sell it, licence it, franchise it and even use it as security for a loan. They can become extremely valuable – recent estimates put Google’s trademark value at around $44bn. And as Google well knows, the trust built by a trademark can come in useful when you want to expand products or services, either in terms of range or geography.

If you want to know more about the process and are looking for details about how to register a trademark, read our blog post here.

It’s worth knowing that registering in the UK only protects your trademark in this country. And one last tip: once you’ve registered it, don’t forget to renew every 10 years!

EVOLUTION OF A LOGO

Our Aubergine logo didn’t always look the way it does now – times change and everything needs an update every now and then. Here we explore our logo since our inception, and take a look at what changed and why:

2002: Our first logo was designed to look like a colour chip (the 262 part of our web address is from the Pantone® colour).

2003: This totally different approach used a popular typeface at the time to highlight our digital capabilities

 

2010: A simpler design for a new decade

 

2012: In 2012 we launched a classier, more timeless and more recognisable look

 

2017: The bright purple was exchanged for a subtler shade at the same time we redeveloped our website

 

2018: A registered trademark!

 

 

If you’re interested in getting your brand identity trademarked, read our blog article about how to do it – or get in touch.