In today’s competitive marketplace, companies cannot miss any opportunity to strengthen, improve, and protect their brands. They have to look beyond traditional strategies of securing trademarks, copyrighting text, and protecting designs. The new frontier for brand management is employing a broader intellectual property (IP) strategy that incorporates patents. Patents can protect and strengthen brands, secure a position in the marketplace, increase customer loyalty, and provide leverage for ROI.
Advanced IP protection of a brand requires a critical evaluation of the alignment between the brand characteristics, products, technologies, and IP. Any disjoint between your brand and IP portfolio can indicate a misaligned and weakened organization, leaving your company more susceptible to competitive threats. Strongly aligned brand and IP deliver a coherent, robust message to the market and can positively influence product development.
Case Study: Johnson’s® Bedtime®
Brand characteristics can also be used to drive product development. For instance, the brand message for J&J’s Johnson’s babycare relates to being gentle, safe, and nurturing for babies. Focusing on those brand characteristics and integrating customer insights, such as knowing that parents struggle with putting children to sleep each night, led J&J to develop the Johnson’s Bedtime product line that includes bath products, lotion, and massage gel. Based on the brand characteristics, J&J developed solutions for other issues facing parents that integrated with basic care and cleansing routines. Patenting the technologies and products that deliver the brand message of gentle and also calming would solidify Johnson’s brand protection and create barriers to entry for other competitors that exceed what a trademark or copyright can provide. In fact, J&J did patent the technology in a family of patents that includes European patent 1218023, entitled “Method for calming human beings using personal care compositions” and claims to have patented a mixture of essences shown to deliver relaxing properties.
(Image reference: johnsonsbaby.com, 19Sep07)
To support clients, ipCapital provides services and consulting to address the following needs in the area of connecting brand and IP:
• Conducting alignment assessment between products, trademarks, and patent
portfolio to identify areas of synergy and divergence, using established methodology
• Developing strategies to increase the value of a brand or brand family through patentable inventions
• Protecting and strengthening the competitive advantages of products, technologies, and brand in a unified way for efficiency and synergistic strength
• Developing directed inventions, using brand qualities as inputs for inventive concepts
By supporting brand with patents as part of the IP portfolio, companies can realize better defined, more valuable brands that are resilient in the face of evolving market circumstances and competitive threats. To obtain more information or discuss your unique challenges please contact us.