Adobo Putoshop, Starbuko, and Caintacky Fried Chicken. Sounds familiar? No, this is not a joke. These are actually the real business names of small establishments in the Philippines who ride on the name and fame of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Filipinos are fun and creative people. The pun or spin in the localized business names are clearly intended, and many consumers take the irony quite enjoyable. Business owners ride on the viral quality. It’s not just fun and games anymore. It’s business.
And if you’re the owners of the big brands often ripped off in the Philippines, these pun-y businesses could be a problem because they can hurt your brand identity. This is not limited to the big boys as well. Many also hitch a ride on the fame of locally grown brands.
So, what do you do? Here are ten ways to protect your business brand in the Philippines.
How to Protect Business Brand
1. Make Sure Your Business Papers Are in Order
If you’re starting a business in the Philippines, you have to be registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). A BIR online registration is one of the first steps to ensure that your business is protected by the laws of the country
2. Trademark Your Business
Getting a trademark registration in the Philippines will ensure that your business concept cannot be duplicated and replicated. It certifies that your idea is original and that your concept is patented.
A trademark registration gives you the right to sue anyone who copies your concept. So, you need to file your registration at the Bureau of Trademarks of the Intellectual Property Office.
3. Be Aware of Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement
In the Philippines, copying a famous logo and localizing it has become such a common occurrence. For instance, you can buy T-shirts featuring a parody of famous brands and its logo.
Fitness First has a version called “Fatness First,” and Heineken Lager Beer has a parody shirt as “Heinakuh.” These so-called artistic shirts sell for as much as Php600 per piece. Given the Filipino’s love for fun and creativity, these businesses can rake in a lot by riding on the famous brand names.
It’s important to remember that everything you created in mind for your own business is considered a form of IP so you have to protect it. Unfortunately, in some countries, the pun is regarded as an exclusion to the protection of the trademark. But of course, it remains that these parody apparel can still get themselves sued, issued a fine, or forced to show that the pun is not meant to confuse consumers.
4. Be Your Own Brand Police
If you discover someone using your trademarked logo with your consent or authorization, you can send him or her a “Take Down Notice.” This letter explains that, by law, they are required to remove any unauthorized use of logos from their products, services, servers, websites, and other relevant sites, even in social media and blogs.
5. Protect Your Home Turf
Sometimes, the problems can start with the people you employ and work with. Your contracts for your employees and vendors should include an IP protection clause stating that they cannot use your trademarked logo for any person or non-work purposes.
6. Explain Brand Protection in Your Employee Handbook
Brand protection begins at home, and you can empower your employees to become your guards. Include the relevant IP protection information in your employee handwork to ensure that employees know what to do if they come across a particular situation.
7. Hire Help
Hiring an intellectual property lawyer can assist you with the legal paperwork and consultation. You can also hire legal services if you find other establishments using your IP.
8. Use Google Alerts to Safeguard Your Brand
Set it up in such a way that you get alerts whenever your brand is mentioned online since many copyright and IP infringement go unnoticed and unresolved. Google Alerts can help you, well, stay alert.
9. Monitor Your Competitors
IP infringement is not just about the logo. Your concept can be copied too, as well as everything you create for your business. Therefore, it’s advisable to monitor your competitors too.
10. Think Global
Hiring a lawyer can help you maneuver the legal processes in protecting your intellectual property rights from copycats abroad. Don’t just handle the battles locally. Protect your brand as if you can go global anytime.
Be on Guard
Build your brand and customers will come. The same goes for your competitors. If you are not proactive in protecting your brand, these issues will not get addressed. We hope that these tips can help you in actively protecting your brand and business from predators who want a piece of your pie.