We act for a broad spectrum of clients across many industry sectors. Our typical clients are:
Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Small to Medium Enterprises form the backbone of a modern vibrant economy. Yet many do not realise that their trademarks are the most important and valuable assets they have. Trademarks allow SMEs to distinguish their unique goods and services from those of their competitors. Yet, sadly many SMEs take no steps to protect their trademarks. Indeed, many SMEs make the mistake in thinking that, by merely incorporating a company under a given name, this somehow grants exclusivity in the name. This could not be further from the truth; in Ireland, company or business name registrations do not grant any exclusive rights.
While it may be possible to protect the business goodwill you have built up under a trading name, this can be expensive to prove in a court of law if you discover that one of your competitors is trading under an identical name or trading style. The more effective way of protecting and enforcing your corporate identity and brands is through registering them as trademarks. TIERNEY IP has many years of experience in helping SMEs in Ireland and abroad to register their trade marks. The process is not as expensive as it may seem. For as little as €500 plus VAT, TIERNEY IP can assist a small business to file and secure a trade mark registration in Ireland for an initial period of ten years. When granted, a trade mark registration will allow the holder to prevent anybody else in Ireland from using an identical or similar sign in relation to goods and/or services which are identical or similar to those for which registration is granted. If protection is required beyond Ireland, TIERNEY IP can assist and advise a small business to secure trade mark registration throughout the European Union and in over 144 countries abroad.
Many SMEs also make the mistake of commencing business under a name which may already be used by a competitor only to be then threatened with a trademark infringement or Passing off claim before the courts. These cases can be extremely expensive to contest and, if unsuccessful, could result in a significant damages pay-out as well as the other side’s legal costs. TIERNEY IP has extensive experience in running and analysing ‘Freedom to Operate’ searches to ensure that you can commence your business or launch your brand without the risk of a challenge from a third party.
TIERNEY IP ranks a number of listed companies amongst its clients. Our Managing Director, Niall Tierney has vast experience of advising listed companies on the protection and management of their extensive trade mark and design portfolios. Niall was previously an advisor to one of the world’s largest FMCG companies and was at the forefront of clearing and protecting many of its brands throughout the European Union. Niall also advised a large multi-national frozen foods brand on the clearance, protection and management of its trade mark and design portfolio in the European Union.
While in-house, Niall was responsible for co-ordinating the protection and enforcement of one of the world’s leading broadcasting and telecommunications listed companies.
Through his experience of working with FTSE 100 and NASDAQ Index companies, Niall has an incisive understanding of the importance trademarks play in the growth and continued success of large corporations.
TIERNEY IP acts for a number of business federations and their members. TIERNEY IP can create ‘bespoke’ and ‘one stop shop’ solutions for business organizations and federations wishing to provide their members with the ability to clear, protect, maintain and monetize their brands. As part of its service, TIERNEY IP also provides in-house seminars and training to business organizations and members wishing to learn more about the important and vital role of Intellectual Property plays in a vibrant and successful commercial environment.
TIERNEY IP works closely with brand managers to ensure that the brands they manage on behalf of clients and employers are securely cleared and protected. TIERNEY IP’s philosophy is to get involved as early as possible in the birth and development of a brand. TIERNEY IP therefore encourages all brand managers to contact us at the inception stage of a prospective brand so that we can screen for any potential legal threats and challenges before launch. Our policy is to highlight, at an early stage, potential threats and, where possible, to mitigate against or reduce such threats. Our approach is to never to adopt a ‘take or leave it’ attitude when advising our clients’ during a brand clearance project. We propose effective solutions so that you can proceed with launch and management of the brand safe in the knowledge that you have been advised by an experienced firm.
ACCOUNTANTS & LIQUIDATORS
Accountants play a vital role in the development and integrity of brands. Many start-ups will initially approach an accountant to assist in company formation and asset protection. TIERNEY IP can be assistance to accountants in such scenarios by making sure that their clients are free to operate under a preferred business name. Merely because searches of the Companies and Business names registers do not reveal other conflicting names, this does not mean that a company can safely start trading under their new name. Only a comprehensive trade mark search will reveal whether a preferred company/business name is available. TIERNEY IP has extensive experience in conducting and analysing trade mark searches. If you are an Accountant acting for a start-up, contact TIERNEY IP for assistance and advice.
TIERNEY IP can also be of assistance to accountants dealing with company insolvencies. All too often, the liquidation of a company’s assets overlooks Intellectual Property rights and can result in vital IP rights and contracts being either missed or transferred incorrectly. TIERNEY IP can assist accountants in undertaking the necessary Due Diligence to ensure that the disposal of all Intellectual Property assets is lawfully handled. An assessment will also need to be undertaken of any Intellectual Property licences to determine the scope of the licences and any obligations to or from third parties. An Accountant may also need assistance in situations where a company has used its IP for securitization purposes. Unless a security interest has been recorded on the relevant IP register, a bona fide purchaser for value without notice may be deemed to have good title in the relevant IP right.
OVERSEAS IP ATTORNEYS
Unless a business is domiciled or has a real and effective presence in the European Union (EU), overseas brand owners and their attorneys will generally need to instruct an IP lawyer within the European Union to file and register trademarks and designs. TIERNEY IP has many years of experience of acting on behalf of non-EU businesses and IP attorneys. Our Managing Director, Niall Tierney, is authorised to practice before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as well as the Irish Patents Office, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Niall has extensive experience of filing and prosecuting trademark and design applications from filing to conclusion. He has also handled a large number of trade mark oppositions; cancellations and invalidations before the EUIPO, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and the Irish Patents Office. Niall also has prosecuted and defended design invalidation proceedings before the EUIPO, the Irish Patents Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office.
TIERNEY IP can undertake and advise on the results of comprehensive IP clearance searches on behalf of overseas clients and attorneys. This service is of particular importance to clients wishing to operate and/or launch a brand in Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are both ‘first to use’ countries.
All too often, many in the entertainment industry do not realise that their works and performances are capable of Intellectual Property protection. In fact, many authors, artists and entertainers miss taking the necessary steps to protect their valuable Intellectual Property rights. Intellectual Property, for those in the entertainment industry, can come in its various different manifestations, whether it is Copyright protection for literary, artistic and musical works to trade mark protection for musical jingles, slogans and gestures. TIERNEY IP has extensive expertise in advising the entertainment industry on the protection of intellectual property rights. Niall’s incisive awareness and understanding of the entertainment industry comes from his time working in-house for one of the world’s leading entertainment and broadcasting corporations.
In the age of the Internet and the global marketplace famous personalities have become increasingly aware of how their image and identity (‘Image Right’) can be commercially used and exploited. TIERNEY IP can therefore also advise and assist personalities and/or their agents in how to protect and enforce valuable image rights in Ireland and throughout the European Union.
Intellectual Property is core to the success of a fashion brand. TIERNEY IP can advise and assist fashion designers and high street brands in protecting, enforcing and exploiting their designs, labels and brands. During his time in London, our Managing Director, Niall Tierney, was adviser to a leading high street clothing and accessories brand and helped clear and protect its stable of brands throughout the world. One of Niall’s notable achievements was helping a leading ‘Savile Row’ men’s fashion designer to recover the rights to his core brand and identity. Niall was also adviser to a luxury goods fashion house and helped protect its valuable trademarks and designs throughout the European Union.
TIERNEY IP understands that new designs are at the core of a successful fashion brand. TIERNEY IP therefore works closely with fashion clients in developing an effective clearance and protection program to ensure that fashion designs and brands are protected from external threats such as counterfeit goods.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Some of the most Intellectual Property rich companies in the world are within the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. The very success of these companies depends on their ability to develop, clear and maintain a stable of core branded products and designs.
Clearing a new pharmaceutical brand is a complex process where standard trade mark clearance searches are not enough. Searches of additional specialised databases such as the World Health Organisation Non Proprietor Names (INN) index are very often required. TIERNEY IP has substantial experience in analysing these databases and advising and guiding pharmaceutical companies through the clearance process and beyond to effective protection and exploitation.
The medical devices sector also merits specialised and bespoke solutions. TIERNEY IP currently acts for a medical devices client and has advised it on the protection of one of its core brands.