Intangible assets such as the corporate identity and corporate design of a company are among the most valuable components of a company. Therefore, the corporate design should be protected early to prevent copies and similar brand appearances of your competitors. Often, the brand and the corporate design are associated with a great reputation and a great market potential. In this article, you'll learn how to protect your corporate design in good time, preventing competitors from attacking your brand.
What is meant by corporate design or corporate identity?
Corporate identity stands for the personality of a company in Germany. The individual appearance of a company consists of the actions (corporate behavior), the external appearance or the visual design elements (corporate design) and the statements (corporate communication). The main component of a successful corporate design is the logo, colors, shapes and design of the buildings.
Registration of the company as the first step to protect the corporate identity
Anyone who founds a company must register his company in the commercial register. The company name depends on the chosen company form. Depending on the legal form, the company name, the names of the shareholders and the purpose of the company must be included. Fantasy names are only allowed when founded as AG, GmbH or Cooperative. In order to avoid confusion, you should check in advance whether similar company names have already been entered in the commercial register. However, the registration of the company name in the commercial register only provides very limited protection, which is why additional registration of a trademark is recommended.
How to protect your corporate identity and your corporate design by entering a brand
A brand is an identification of products and services to distinguish them from competitors' products. In principle, every graphically representable sign can be registered as a trademark. In particular, words, combinations of letters and numbers, or logos can be protected as a trademark. Each trademark must be registered in the register of the German Patent and Trademark Office. The registration gives the owner of the mark the exclusive right to use the mark. If a competitor uses the trademark or other proprietary elements of the corporate design, this constitutes a trademark infringement. An intentional trademark infringement can result in fines and, in severe cases, jail sentences. The entry of the brand has several advantages for a company. In addition to protection against unauthorized copies, a brand also increases the company's value in public.
Can also advertising be protected?
Logos and company names can be protected by the trademark and patent office and the entry in the commercial register. But what about the brochures and catalogs a company has created? These advertising materials make a decisive contribution to the external appearance of a company. As a result, they are particularly exposed to the risk of fast and unauthorized copies. Mostly brochures or catalogs are created with certain graphic and creative arrangements. Creative and artistic achievements can be protected by copyright. However, it is crucial that an individual character is present. Price lists or forms usually have no original idea, and accordingly can not be protected. In contrast to the registration of the trademark, the copyright protection arises already with the creation of the appropriate corporate design. Advertising material and texts do not have to be entered in a register, even the often used copyright symbol is not necessary for the copyright protection.