Financial services — protecting your brands

Consumers are naturally drawn to brand names that clearly indicate the services being offered. It is therefore not uncommon for financial services to be offered using descriptive names such as Cash Today or Pay Day Loan as the services being provided are easily recognisable. When adopting descriptive names, providers should be aware of the potential limitations on preventing the use of similar descriptive names by competitors and steps that can be taken to maximise their legal protection.

Brand names can be automatically protected through use. However, in order to benefit from protection, the user must provide evidence of goodwill and reputation in the UK and establish that use by a competitor of a similar or identical brand name would amount to a misrepresentation in the market place, causing confusion amongst consumers as to who the provider of the service is. In practice, this can be a difficult evidential burden, especially if the brand has only been used for a limited period and is still building a reputation in the market place. Collating the required evidence to enforce unregistered rights against copy cat providers can also incur significant legal costs and take up valuable management time…

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