Recently Adidas filed a lawsuit on a four-stripe design, on a soccer cleat, by Puma North America Inc. This was yet another lawsuit in its history of aggressively monitoring and acting on any infringements on its protected designs and marks.
You cannot help but admire Adidas’ aggressive stance in protecting its Three-Stripe Mark and why not? The true value of any business is in its assets (tangible and intangible).
The invaluable lesson being taught by Adidas is that any business can own a trademark but protecting that trademark isn’t always about monetary gains and winning a law suit, it’s also about winning a turf war.
One of the best kept secrets in business, particularly for any thriving and growing business, is the value of a trademark to its product differentiation. With any economic downturn, a strong trademark becomes an effective marketing tool. Where there is a decrease in demand against supply and a scramble for the customer’s attention, a strong trade identity will ultimately influence the purchasing behaviour of customers who are likely to be careful in their buying decisions and revert to familiar and trusted brands.
Trademarks therefore play a vital role in commerce and competition.
‘’If we fail to protect our intellectual property rights adequately,
we may lose an important advantage in the markets in which we compete.’’
Authentec inc 10-K 2009
Unfortunately, many businesses in Nigeria have the impression that the odds are stacked against them in an environment that is neck-deep in varying forms of infringement and counterfeiting of products. Unlike Adidas, many businesses don’t monitor and police their trademarks. Businesses must learn the risks associated with losing a trademark.