Postponing the registration of your brand; a very risky gamble

Maria Jose Martinez – Associada

We have seen and read a lot about how people and businesses were reinventing themselves to stay on their feet during the pandemic. Unemployment became the reality for many, and time at home resulted in the birth and take-off -in record time- of many start-ups, culinary talents, manual skills (packaging, plants, clothing), creation of mobile applications and all kinds of micro-businesses that were formed in times of Covid19.

Many of these enterprises today are already part of the consumption of products or services of a large number of citizens, because they have already formed a reputation with their customers and it is taking shape. Just like its creation, the development of new enterprises moves very quickly and needs to fulfill the supply and demand of the market, leaving aside and forgetting a small but great detail: the protection of its brand.

In Intellectual Property matters, who is first in time is first in law. It often happens that when an enterprise already has a prestige in the market or “hits” enough, a third person creates a brand imitating it with the purpose of confusing the consumer to buy a product believing that it is associated with the product or service that is already recognized. Sometimes, there are people in the same line of business who directly “appropriate” the brand by applying for its registration. In Bolivia, as in the rest of the world, there are those known as ” brand thieves” who register other people’s brands and then sell them to the true representative.

As an entrepreneur it is very important to register the brand to avoid this type of scenario. If the brand is already registered, entrepreneurs would be forced to change the brand name, losing all the reputation, marketing and prestige that they have already had in the market practically starting from nothing, positioning the new brand.

That is why one of the main recommendations to entrepreneurs is to apply for the registration of their brand as soon as possible. Sometimes entrepreneurs have the wrong idea that they need to form a commercial company or have some formalities of a legal entity (NIT, Commercial Registration, etc.) to apply for the registration of their brand and therefore delay this process unnecessarily, risking to lose their brand that could be registered in the name of the entrepreneur from the beginning of the enterprise.

We conclude that, although it is not mandatory, it is highly advisable to register a brand because of the exclusive and excluding rights it grants.