Jul 15, 2016

Brexit, Branding, and Overseas Expansion

There is much uncertainty for businesses in the marketplace at the moment in light of the 'Brexit' vote. Much has been made of the fact that nothing is expected to change in the short term but it is feared that businesses will postpone any investment decisions until the terms of any Brexit are clear, leading to a prolonged period of economic stagnation and possible recession. However, despite Brexit, advances in digital technology are actually making it easier for companies to seek to expand overseas.

A significant number of UK companies are using the internet to expand their companies overseas with 1 in 10 UK companies now exporting. A particular feature of many companies that are utilising the internet to expand is the speed at which they seek to expand. An example of this is the healthy snack company Graze (who discuss their expansion strategy in this article) who expanded into the USA in 2013.

Graze engaged in a lot of digital marketing and promotional activity on social media prior to the launch of its products in all 50 US states simultaneously. This strategy paid off and within 3 months of their launch Graze had gained 100,000 customers in the USA. This shows the rewards that can flow from a successful expansion overseas but, even without Brexit, there are many hurdles to jump when considering overseas expansion, including local laws, language difference and currency fluctuations. As things stand, only time will tell whether the freedom for UK businesses to expand across Europe may be curtailed by whatever agreement is reached following the expected triggering of Article 50.

If you are considering expanding overseas it is also extremely important to ensure that your brand is fully protected before you do so. This includes ensuring any UK registrations are fully up to date including trade marks and registered designs. It may also be important to seek registrations for your brand in the country that you are looking to expand into, though subsisting UK rights may provide sufficient protection in terms of copyright, if a reciprocal agreement exists with your target country.

If you have any queries concerning protection of your rights when looking to expand your business please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or by email to legal@mcdanielslaw.com.


in: Digital/Tech, EU/International, News

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