Development of a brand through trade mark protection
A Dr Martens case study

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Page 5: Operating on a global scale

Dr Martens 2 Image 4Operating on a global scale produces added complications when attempting to protect Marks in countries not using the Roman alphabet. If the local population cannot read the mark, or pronounce it, a suitable translation into the local language has to be found. It is important to make sure that the translated mark works in the relevant country and not rely only on a translation service to provide a new Trade Mark without testing its reception in the market.

In order to keep a Trade Mark valid, it has to be used regularly and use has to be proved in many of the markets in which application and registration have been filed or granted. There are, however, instances when the brand owner wishes to secure Trade Mark protection in markets where trade is not anticipated. This course of action is in order to prevent third parties from using or applying to register the mark.

Brand extension

Dr Martens 2 Image 7As a brand grows in popularity so do the opportunities to license the Trade Mark to third parties, providing permission to another company to produce goods bearing the marks, which the consumer associates with the 'core' products. Licensing allows companies to offer a wider range of products under their Trade Marks, presenting the consumer with a selection of new goods, under the familiar mark. Griggs jealously protect their brand by ensuring careful quality control of the products produced under their Mark is carried out. Griggs began to offer licences for its Trade Marks in 1994, due to high demand for the footwear - brand extension was considered and various product options assessed. Research indicated that the consumer associated the Dr. Martens and AirWair Trade Marks with products such as clothing and accessories, as well as bags, stationery and watches.

After entering into licensing agreements with various companies, Dr. Martens bags, watches and stationery ranges became available. Brand extension though can both enhance the core product through greater consumer allegiance and confidence and can springboard additional sales of the core product. Conversely, if managed badly, the core product may be severely damaged through alienation of the customer if the brand extension goods are of a poor quality or if they do not reflect the values/images of the brand.

Dr Martens | Development of a brand through trade mark protection