ICE London 2017 – does the gambling industry have full control over their trademark rights?
Over 500 exhibitors from the gambling industry from 66 different nations was during 7th – 9th of January 2017 under the same roof in the big excel-arena in London. ICE, the world’s most international gaming event, for companies operating both online and offline, has in a few years grown considerably from a small fair with only a few major exhibitors to a huge exhibition.
Networking and dealing between the well-known gambling companies, recently launched start-ups and companies with services to support the gaming companies – make his fair a very important place for everyone with an interest in the fast-growing industry. This year, Otmore was there as a visitor and we were greeted by fascinating stands that offered everything from live gaming experiences to delicious Belgian waffles – and naturally – a lot of interesting people.
Before the fair, we did some light trademark investigations in international trademark databases for 60 different exhibitors, and found some interesting information. Almost everyone had some problem in their trademark registration and 28 of the 60 companies did not even have a protection at all for their main brand/company name! Even if you work with business to business and your trademark is “behind the scene” you probably still want to keep your name exclusive to secure that no one else can ruin your reputation by using your name in bad faith, or even worse; imply that you are infringing on their trademark. In this industry where the most business takes place online with large cash flows, it is extra important to secure your exclusivity.
The main reason to why this industry has grown so rapidly is of course the Internet. Within the gambling industry, where most of the business takes place online and no physical products needs to be shipped between countries, it is easy to expand your business to new markets in a quick way, and just as easy to forget the importance of protecting your trademarks and keep them exclusive during a rapid expansion. Internet has made launching new products and services way easier than it was before, but from a trademark perspective the challenges has grown. Expanding your business online means that you are literally an open book. Everything you do and have done, can be seen and monitored by anyone – making it more important than ever to have control of your trademarks.
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We are INTA members – The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property. www.inta.org