5 Ways to Make Money From Your Trademark
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Online and offline brands are vying for a consumer's attention daily. So, how can one set themself apart from all the others? The answer: A trademark. What if we told you there are at least five ways to profit from your trademark?
A trademark is the face of your business. The trademark office of the USPTO states:
‘A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.’
It helps your brand stand out from the cluttered sea of competitors.
As these words and symbols make their mark in the marketplace, they can become extremely valuable intellectual property. Take a look at some of the most valuable trademarks in the world:
- Google- trademark value - $44.3 billion
- Microsoft - trademark value - $42.8 billion
- Walmart - trademark value - $36.2 billion
- IBM - trademark value - $36.2 billion
- Vodafone - trademark value - $30.7 billion
This kind of massive value takes years to build.
Still, there are some solid strategies behind this. And small businesses can use these to leverage their trademarks and profit from them. This will also boost the cycle of value creation.
Here are 5 creative ways to make money from your trademark:
1. License your trademark
Wondering how to make money from your trademark?
Well, licensing is one of the most innovative ways to make money from your trademark. This means allowing others to use your brand/logo on their products and merchandise. Think of iconic brands like Coca-Cola and Nike, which license their extremely valuable brands to sports teams (Real Madrid) and famous players (Michael Jordan and LeBron James).
It's a win-win situation. The brand lends its credibility to its licensees. In turn, licensees get access to the licensees' ardent fans and followers.
The licensor also makes money from royalties and a percentage of the profits.
Consumer, lifestyle, fashion, automotive brands, and many others have done this for decades.
It's a tried and tested method for creating brand recognition while making money from a trademark. Small businesses can consider licensing their trademarks. They can have sponsorship agreements with local sports competitions and cultural events. But remember, you have to do your trademark registration in order before you start licensing.
2. Using your trademark as collateral
Your trademark is not just the visible identity of your business. It's also a prime example of its intellectual capital. This makes it a vital intellectual property asset.
Many business owners agree about the value of a trademark. Sumit Jain, the founder of Scoopbyte, had this to say about the value of a trademark:
"A trademark can be incredibly valuable to a business as it provides protection and exclusivity to the business. It is clear proof that a product or service belongs to a certain business, preventing any imitation that could damage the reputation of the company. A trademark also increases brand recognition and helps consumers to differentiate between products and services.
Most importantly, a trademark is a valuable asset to a business as long as the registration is valid, therefore the importance of understanding and protecting your trademark cannot be underestimated."
This value can be leveraged by using your trademark portfolio as collateral. Collaterals are valuable assets owned by a person or an organization. These can be used as security when taking out a loan, like getting a loan based on the monetary value of your car or house.
Similarly, suppose your trademark has created value through recognition and recall with customers. Customers have positive associations with the brand image. In such cases, it can be leveraged as an asset to get a loan from a bank. The guarantee is that the bank can take possession of your trademark if you don't repay the loan.
Especially for small businesses, this can be a great way to secure loans for growing and expanding the business without mortgaging physical assets like office spaces or equipment.
3. Create franchise agreements
A franchise agreement is a great way to make money from your unique brand and trademark while expanding your business.
A franchise is a license that grants a franchisee access to an exclusive owner or franchisor's proprietary business knowledge, processes, and trademarks. It allows the franchisee to sell a product or service under the franchisor's business name.
Take, for instance, McDonald's, one of the world's most famous trademarks. With over 38,000 locations across 100 countries, approximately 93% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners, making it the largest franchise in the world.
This is a popular option for people looking to start a small business mainly because a franchise comes with tried-and-tested products and services and is usually an established and recognized brand.
It's a great way for franchisers to expand their brand reach, move into new markets, and make money from their trademarks without the high costs and liabilities of setting up their own branches.
4. Co-branding with another company
Co-branding lets two businesses benefit from the other's strengths and trademarks by entering into a mutually beneficial arrangement to create a combined, uniquely branded product or service.
Such co-branding exercises let both businesses leverage the brand equity and consumer loyalty of the other. This means that both trademarks make money for their respective businesses while introducing a new product that creates buzz in the market and makes for great advertising and marketing.
5. Sell the trademark
Yes, you can sell your trademark.
Whether you're diversified and are looking to exit a particular venture or trying to pivot, you can sell the rights to use your trademarks and make money off them even as you let them go.
Even if you no longer need your trademark for your business, it may be of immense value to someone else, such as your business partners, a competitor, or a new player trying to enter your market.
Sometimes, it may be a good fit for their business or give them brand equity in niche markets. For others, it's the convenience of acquiring an innovative symbol, logo, or phrase already registered as a trademark.
Either way, it's worth checking if your trademarks are of interest to anyone else so that you can sell them for one final benefit before you part ways.
You can even look explore online trademark selling platforms.
Creating a valuable asset
Trademarks are important and can open up substantial new revenue streams for your business. Your first step as a business owner should be to file a trademark application with the relevant legal entity like the USPTO in the US.
You should identify all the assets that you can register as trademarks, patents, and copyrights and build a solid IP portfolio. We suggest working with a trademark attorney to help you through
the process. While it may add to your short-term costs, consider it an investment that will unlock the true value of your intellectual property in the long run.
How much is my trademark worth?
Trademark valuation is determined on projected anticipated earning power. This is typically worked out by looking at your business’ income history.
Can I earn royalties from trademarks?
Yes, you can earn royalties from trademarks. The payments that a licensee makes to the licensor to use the latter's trademark are royalties. These are usually an agreed-upon percentage of the licensee's income from the trademark.
How long does a trademark last?
Trademark registration in the US is valid indefinitely. Unlike copyrights and patents, it has no deadline or expiry date. However, this is subject to the condition that you continuously or regularly use the trademark in commerce. You'll have to provide proof of this by submitting certain documents, usually after every ten years, to show to maintain your trademark.
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Amrusha is a versatile professional with over 12 years of experience in journalism, broadcast news production, and media consulting. Her impressive career includes collaborating extensively with prominent global enterprises. She garnered recognition for her exceptional work in producing acclaimed shows for Bloomberg, a renowned business news network. Notably, these shows have been incorporated into the esteemed curriculum of Harvard Business School. Amrusha's expertise also encompassed a 4-year tenure as a consultant at Omidyar Network, a leading global impact investing firm. In addition, she played a pivotal role in the launch and content strategy management of the startup Live History India.
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