Protect yourself with Patents and Trade Marks

If you’ve got a new invention, are launching a brand or marketing a new stream of business, it’s important to consider whether you need a patent or trade mark. Both take at least six months to process in New Zealand, so the sooner you do your homework, the better.

  • A patent is granted for an invention. It can be a new product or process, the material it is made from, or how something is made.
  • A trade mark protects your name, logo or brand. It can be a word, phrase, number, symbol, logo, colour, label, shape, or even a sound or smell, provided the mark can be represented graphically.

What are the benefits of a patent?

  • It gives you a legal right to stop others from making, using, or selling something you have invented.
  • Your invention is protected in New Zealand for up to 20 years.

Applying for a patent?

Be careful about revealing details of your invention to other people before you have filed your application: doing this may cause your application to be declined.

What are the benefits of a trade mark?

  • Trade mark registration is the easiest and most effective way to stop others from using your trade mark (or one similar to it).
  • Details of trade mark registrations are publicly available on a searchable database so competitors considering adopting a mark like yours will be put off.
  • You have the exclusive right to use the trade mark throughout New Zealand to promote the goods and/or services it covers for up to 10 years.
  • You can use the ® symbol with the trade mark.
  • You can sell or assign the trade mark to another person or business, or license its use to other parties.
  • It enhances the value of your business, i.e.: if you plan on selling your business, buyers will be interested in your IP assets.

Before you do anything, check to see if a trade mark or logo like yours is already on the NZ Register, at www.iponz.govt.nz.

If you need protection in other countries as well as New Zealand, talk to an IP lawyer. They do extensive searches of brand names across all relevant categories, advise on similar companies and can tell you whether your application is likely to be accepted.

Facebook: Why your business needs it (and how to use it!)

Are your ideal customers adults? Then your business needs to be on Facebook because that’s where their eyeballs are.

Time-poor or don’t have a clue where to start? Get some answers with these six most frequently asked questions.

85% of Kiwi adults are on Facebook and using it for at least 30-minutes every day.

1. Why should my business be on Facebook?

Facebook is the most cost effective way to promote your small business right now. It’s basically ‘word of mouth’ on steroids. It’s your chance to tell more people about your services and how you can help them – bringing in more enquiries more often.

2. How much do I need to spend?

You can start small by spending $100 a month on Facebook advertising to boost the number of people who see your posts and set up targeted marketing campaigns. Or just post engaging content regularly, which doesn’t cost a thing.

3. Do I need a Facebook expert or can I do it in-house?

If you don’t have the budget to spare to pay someone to do it for you, do it in-house. Find someone within your business who wants to take ownership of it and get them trained in Facebook Ad Manager. Facebook content needs to come from the beating heart of the business so make sure the person looking after it knows the business, your voice and your customers. But remember, they’ll still need you to be involved to make it authentic. You, and your team, need to appear in the content and help create it.

“Just start posting.”

4. My budget is small, what’s something effective I can do myself?

“Just start posting. The secret to social media marketing is consistency,” says Auckland digital marketing coach Andrew Ferdinando. “If you’re consistently posting engaging content, your audience will grow. There are people who have created an audience from scratch, with zero advertising budget, because they create engaging content.”

5. But I’m not a writer!

You don’t have to be – try Facebook Live. The live video streaming means you can use your phone to record yourself discussing something related to your industry, products or services and you’re done. It’s a powerful medium that doesn’t have to be polished.

6. When will I start to see traction on Facebook?

Look at your Facebook results over a 12 month period – not per campaign or post. “It’s not like a print or magazine advert – the benefit comes from long term content,” says Andrew Ferdinando. “You can get fantastic value from Facebook if you post consistently good content throughout the year.”

If you would like to find out more about Facebook and social media training, contact Jodine McIntyre from Social Smarty: jodine@yoursocialsmarty.com