Trade mark attorney and biker, Sanjay Raphael, questions whether manufacturers and designers of motorcycling equipment are doing enough to protect their brand.

Every year around November, UK’s largest motorcycle exhibition occurs in Birmingham. It is an opportunity for sellers and buyers to meet under one roof.

For the buyers, it is an opportunity to see what’s new, try on new gear and lids or even drool over their dream motorcycles.

For those exhibiting, it is an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their existing client base but also an excellent opportunity to attract new clients.

As a motorcyclist and being part of the motorcycle community, it is crucial to me to not only purchase goods and services from a recognised brand owner but also what others say about the quality of a particular brand. Therefore, brand reputation is a crucial part of being safe on the roads.

A way in which manufacturers of motorcycling equipment, accessories and machines can manage their reputation is by protecting their Intellectual Property (IP) using a number of methods including registering their brand names and designs to obtain a monopoly or by ensuring that there is a simple and up-to-date copyright notice on their trading website.

Protecting your IP can be likened to obtaining a plot of land or obtaining a bricks and mortar building. It forms part of the assets of the business and adds value to business (often at a fraction of the cost of buying land, machinery or buildings). However and perhaps more importantly, the IP can be used to prevent others copying your brand or designs or even copying the contents of your website.

The reputation of your brand is crucial, especially in a safety conscious community. Consumers want to know that the goods or services they purchase will keep them safe on the roads and as a result will lead to repeat custom as well as recommendations through word of mouth. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that others do not misappropriate your IP.

Real life examples of how IP can be used in the motorcycle industry include:

  • The use of trade marks to protect brand names, such as the number 46 used by a very well known Moto GP rider. There are a number of trade mark cases where an application to register the number 46 was prevented because Valentino Rossi had already taken steps to secure the registration of the brand. Trade marks are not just available to elite athletes but to all that run a business and have a brand they communicate with;
  • The use of registered designs to protect the look of an object such as a motorcycle fairing, for instance, the “batwing” fairing. It can even be as simple as the way you label your packaging; or
  • Copyright to protect design drawings for parts of motorcycles or even the contents of your website.

Therefore, ensuring your IP is well protected can give you a competitive edge and confidence to trade and build a larger customer base.

Whether you are exhibiting or not, if you would like to know more about how to protect your Intellectual Property, please contact our Intellectual Property team.

Sanjay Raphael is a chartered trade mark attorney in our Intellectual Property team, if you would like more information on a trade mark dispute or any other intellectual property matters please do get in touch by telephone 01392 210700 or email TradeMarks@stephens-scown.co.uk