Cambridge college bursars consider acquiring trade marks


The reputation of academic institutions and charities can be protected using commercially savvy brand strategies, says Marks & Clerk.


Ariana Kumar of Marks & Clerk and Vicky Butterworth and Simon Portman of Marks & Clerk Solicitors recently gave a talk on trade marks and branding to a room of Cambridge college bursars. The talk was very well-received and there were plenty of questions afterwards.

Following the event, Ariana observed, "Academic institutions are increasingly exploiting their brand through merchandising, publications and overseas representatives and outposts. The value of these activities is significantly enhanced by the acquisition of trade marks and the implementation of a well thought out branding strategy. Ivy League institutions and UK universities such as Oxford and Cambridge understand the importance of this but some of the individual colleges are in danger of being left behind.

Vicky added, "Registered and unregistered trade marks also give an institution an additional means of protecting their reputation. Trade marks can be enforced against manufacturers of low quality goods who use the brand without consent or unscrupulous entities trading off an institution's good name and implying some sort of endorsement or connection when none exists. These types of activities have the potential to cause significant damage to a brand. This is a danger not just for universities and colleges but also independent schools and any other charity, for that matter."

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