Trade marks are the essence of franchising.
All franchise systems strive for widespread recognition of their 'brand'. A common thread between successful franchise systems is that their customers receive a consistent level of quality in goods and services provided under instantly recognisable trade marks.
However, there are often complexities in the registration and use of trade marks within a franchise system. For franchisors, getting the licensing right is not always clear cut, nor is being able to secure registrations for new products. On the other hand, franchisees will often enhance the reputation of a trade mark, but have no ownership interest and can carry the risk of infringing a competitor's trade mark.
This article explores the importance of trade marks to a franchise system, and the key parties involved in it.