October 24, 2023 – In the firearms industry, intellectual property is often equated with patents and protecting new inventions and innovations. This is undoubtedly an important aspect of the industry, and patents are vital. However, recent corporate news from the home goods sector provides a key reminder that, regardless of what business you are in, a strong brand and robust, well-protected trademark portfolio can often be a company’s most valuable asset.

Trademarks are source identifiers that serve to differentiate a company’s goods or services from those of its competitors. When used and protected properly, great marketing and branding teams can leverage these assets to develop strong brand recognition and loyalty amongst consumers. Not to mention that, unlike patents, as long as they are continually used, there is no limit to how long a trademark can continue providing – and building – value. But how much are trademarks really worth?

Recently, the struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond sold its entire trademark portfolio to Overstock.com for $21.5 million! In this transaction, Overstock determined that while their business model was good, their branding was less than ideal. In consumer’s eyes, “Overstock” = bargains and surplus liquidation. On the other end of the spectrum, Bed Bath & Beyond had a strong name and wide-spread recognition and brand awareness, but a bad operating model, so the overall business was lagging. Seemingly a match made in heaven, Overstock targeted Bed Bath & Beyond’s portfolio for purchase, and transformed its image.

This illustrates both sides of how valuable a trademark portfolio can be to any business – both to a purchaser and a seller – and helps to put a real-world dollar amount on what such an asset can be worth. And this concept is not exclusive to the retail sector. The principle is just as relevant to the firearms industry as it is anywhere else. Investing in your company to build and develop a healthy trademark portfolio that results in strong brand recognition is just as important as the firearms and related products that a company produces. A quality product will only take you so far. Recognizable and well-developed trademarks that are diligently protected can often be the missing piece of the puzzle that takes a company to the next level.

Renzulli Law Firm is Monitoring Firearm-Related Issues and Legislative Developments. If you have any questions regarding growing, maximizing, monitoring and protecting your company’s trademark portfolio, we are here to help – please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.