Building a brand is a long process. It takes dedication in order to make a widely known brand and have a good reputation in the eyes of consumers. Now imagine if this time-consuming effort disappeared in the blink of an eye when another brand has the same name as Doers’ brand, how much would be the loss?

Illustration: GoTo VS. GOTO

The similarity of a brand name is no longer a new issue in Indonesia. A while ago, a company called PT Terbit Financial Technology has sued Gojek and Tokopedia for IDR 2.08 trillion over the GoTo trademark. The lawsuit arose because PT Terbit claimed that GOTO was a trademark that belongs to them and had been registered in the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DJKI).

Similar to the GOTO case, the non-cash payment application namely OVO, also made clarifications on social media a few months ago regarding the revocation of the business license of a finance company that has a similar name to them. The clarification stated that OFI (OVO Finance Indonesia) whose business license has just been revoked by Financial Services Authority (OJK), has no affiliation at all with PT Visionet Internasional, which is the holding company of OVO.

On a global scale, a startup company called Meta PC also has sued Facebook, which recently rebranded by changing its name to Meta Platform, for USD 20 million or approximately IDR 287 billion due to the similarity of the brand names.

What can we learn from these issues? Why is it crucial for a brand to patent its intellectual property rights? Are there any risks that may occur when a brand has the same name as other brands?

Picture: Diagram/illustration when intellectual property boosting brand reputation

Intellectual Property in a Brand 

A brand is an asset that needs to be legally protected. Managing a brand is the same as managing perception, in other words, brand plays an important role in maintaining the sustainability of a business. Why is that? Because proper brand management will form a strong reputation so that brand equity is created. Once brand equity has been built, the economic value obtained can be very large because it can contribute to the valuation figure as well as a future opportunity. However, the process to build brand equity is by no means is easy for Doers. It took a long and costly process to reach this point.

Reflecting on the past on the three cases above, it is very possible for two companies to have the same brand name. Therefore, it is important to patent brand name ownership as soon as possible. Because the similarity of brand names can cause harm to both parties. From consumers’ perspective, they can be fooled by the same brand name and cause confusion. As a result, Doers may lose potential leads or even lose customers. Meanwhile, in terms of brand equity, this phenomenon can also damage the brand’s reputation as it is unable to meet the performance that has been built in such a way, especially if both brands work in the same field. The risk of brand equity damage will be significant. This can be seen from OVO with OFI (OVO Finance Indonesia) case. The revocation of OFI’s business license will definitely have an impact on the brand’s reputation. So it is very understandable that OVO, which has the same name as OFI company, issued a statement to affirm their position.

How to Register Intellectual Property Rights of a Brand

The best way to protect a brand is to be legally register to DJKI. The sooner the Intellectual Property Rights of a brand is registered, the better. Thus, Doers can avoid the same name or plagiarism. But, how to do it? Which office should I go to if I want to register my brand? What assets need to be registered?

Based on the information we have collected, there are two ways that can be taken when Doers want to legally register brand ownership. The first way is through the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DJKI). Currently, registration of new brands can be done online through DJKI official website. Doers’ brands will be protected by applicable laws in Indonesia by officially registering brand ownership with DJKI.

Once registered in DJKI, Doers can also still provide further protection for brand ownership, especially when collaborating with other parties. This second layer of protection is called NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreement. This agreement is made to protect intellectual property that has the potential to be disclosed by other parties when collaborating, such as employees, vendors, and stakeholders.

There are three main assets that Doers need to register first during brand ownership registration. The first one is the name and logo of the brand. The second one is a jingle, while the third one is the product. Why are these three assets are important? Because all three of them have a vital role in shaping the perception of the brand that Doers have.

Intellectual property in a brand is indeed not a trivial matter. Doers need to be aware of the intellectual property inherently in the business that is being managed. The Director’s Project, our podcast featuring the basicludo A-team has discussed the importance of managing intellectual property over a brand in detail. Listen to The Director’s Project Episode 9: Legal Aspect of Brand to know more!

“It is important to patent brand ownership as soon as possible because the similarity of brand names can cause harm to both parties.”