In a recent Small Plate, I spoke about how to choose a better name for your restaurant. This one’s for existing restaurants who have already chosen their name. Here are three things you can do to strengthen and protect your restaurant’s name.
A registered trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use that trade mark in respect of restaurants (and whatever else the trade mark is registered against). No-one else in Australia can use your restaurant’s brand name
You’ll need to check that the registration will get through. That includes running a trade mark search and learning more about some things that can’t be registered as a trade mark.
Before registering, consider what goods and services you (or a future buyer) might want to diversify into.
Get the domain names and social media handles for each misspelling of your restaurant’s name. Get the .net.au/.org/etc domain names too.
It’s a blocking strategy. If you control them, no-one else can have them.
For the other domain names, ask your web developers to set up a “301 redirect” to point these domain names back at your main website.
Owning these other domain names and social media handles means:
- others can’t leverage off your reputation using the misspellings; or
- use them to actively harm your restaurant’s reputation.
Even parody accounts can be harmful. Think about puns, spoonerisms and jokes based on your restaurant’s name.
Vue De Monde could (and I think, should) register domain names like
- viewdemonde.com.au (“vue” misspelled);
- vuedemond.com.au (“monde” misspelled); and
- viewdemonde.net.au (dot net alternative).
Vue De Monde has less to worry about as their restaurant and website have been around for long enough that search engines know what people are looking for.
Keep an eye out for others using the same name and take steps against them as soon as possible.
Some steps you can take:
- Set up Google Alerts so you know when your restaurant’s name gets mentioned online
- Conduct trade mark searches from time to time
Failing to quickly stop others from infringing your trade mark or using your restaurant’s name:
- damages your business and your reputation; and
- makes it harder to stop them later.
What does strengthening my restaurant’s name do?
At its core: add value to your restaurant.
- Taking steps like those outlined below prevents others from competing with your restaurant based on its name.
- A trade mark is an asset in the sale of a business, which has a value.
- An astute buyer will recognise the value in social media handles and domain names, whether to use them or by knowing that others can’t.
Let’s get you started to a stronger business
Speak to Whites Legal about applying to register a trade mark over your restaurant’s identity.