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Discovering the potential IP in your business is childsplay.

Founder of leading mother and baby store, JoJo Maman Bébé, took steps to protect her IP as a new business, and also as an established brand. Laura Tenison shares her experiences.

While living in France in 1993, Laura Tenison was inspired
by the classic Breton fashion characteristics of her surroundings. Although she
was yet to have a family of her own, Laura recognised that maternity wear was
in need of a major update. With £50,000 she had recieved from the sale of her
first business, she created JoJo Maman Bébé.

 

At
first, the company focused on designing stylish and contemporary maternity wear
for women. This was a refreshing contrast to the dated and unflattering clothes
that were available at the time. It wasn't long before they extended their
smart casual range to babies and children, which embodied style as well as
practicality.

 

During
the early years, when the business was small with limited funds, Laura and her
team had to use of all the free support available. She registered JoJo Maman
Bébé as a limited company and protected the brand name with a registered trade
mark. As business grew, Laura invested in a specialised IP attorney to ensure
JoJo was more widely protected.

“We
read the literature and made a common sense decision to register our IP under
our chosen categories," explained Laura. "We used the Intellectual
Property Office in person in the early years and undertook research at
Companies House. Later on, when the funds were available, we asked our IP
attorney to review our IP situation and started to add to the categories.”

Laura
is are aware that competitors are sometimes ‘inspired’ by their products and
designs. They protect their trade mark with vigour and carry out regular
searches to identify any potential issues.

“Protecting
your trade name is essential especially when it comes to online
retailing," she said. "It takes time and investment to build up a
brand presence and it should be protected where possible.”

JoJo
Maman Bébé now have 60 stores across the UK and stock a wide range of fashion
and products from pregnancy through to pre-school. They now plan to expand the
business internationally, with trade marks pending in the US, Canada, China and
Russia.

 

Learning
from past experiences, Laura had the following advice for businesses:

“It is
vital to ensure your trade mark and trade name are protected at all times and
in every country you intend to work pro-actively in. The cost of protecting
your IP globally is prohibitive to most start-ups. However, as you identify new
territories to launch in, protection of your IP should be considered as a
priority.”

IP Equip

To find out more
about the potential IP in your business, take a look at IP EquipThis is a free online training tool to help you gain more knowledge
about IP and to understand the impact it could have on your business. 


IP Equip
is part of ‘IP for Business’, a free online range of business support tools
designed to help you better understand, protect and exploit your IP assets.

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