Why the restyling of the Insight Logo?

The change in the wording of the "Insight" sign with the insertion of four green dots celebrates the fourth year of activity of the Firm, which since its founding has continued to grow and establish itself in the international legal market. The use of "green", the colour of the previous trademark, is a symbol of continuity and quality of the service offered, while the chromaticism represents the dynamism that characterizes us.

The creation of this new distinctive sign in the fourth year of the Firm's activity coincides, as it already emerges at a first glance, with the beginning of our partnership with de Dominicis & Mayer, a historical Milanese firm of industrial and intellectual property consultants. This is a real fusion in practical terms between legal and technical expertise which, combined with the cross experience of different cultures, allows us to offer our clients an all-round service, while preserving the advantages of an agile structure.

Brand restyling: it's not just a matter of taste

In the last few years, we have become familiar with the concepts of restyling and rebranding[1], just think of how the symbols on the jerseys of our favourite teams have changed over time, or how different the current login screens of the most widely used social media sites look compared to their beginnings.

Sometimes it is a question of minimal changes, while other times of actual upheaval. Let us try to put ourselves on the other side of the table and see what may lie behind the decision to renew the image of one's own company and what consequences, including legal ones, this may have.

Let us start with the main functions of the trademark.

For the entrepreneur, the brand serves to establish a link in the mind of the consumer between a positive shopping experience and the subject who provided the product or service, so that the customer can repeat the purchase in the future. For the consumer, the brand is useful in guiding him choice among many products in the same category, both because the consumer knows what to expect in terms of quality and because trust in the brand will allow time saving in identifying the product that is of interest.

In evaluating a possible redesign of the brand, therefore, the owner of the sign must ask whether and how a redesign can facilitate or impede these functions. The key is to enhance one’s own credibility. A restyling is well done if it communicates a sense of continuity with the quality of the past, making known the firm's propensity to keep up with the times.

On the other hand, change does not always constitute a winning strategy: there are some famous cases[2] in which supposed actions of brand "modernization" have turned out to be unsuccessful.

The main indicators that reveal the adoption of wrong choices in the phase of reworking one's image are the confusion generated in the consumer and the debasement of the credibility that was previously gained.

Confusion, when consumers are no longer able to immediately recognize whether the product or service they are considering comes from that company or another. In this regard, a strong discontinuity in the company's distinctive sign should be carefully considered: the brand encourages a habit of consumption, which risks deteriorating if excessively destabilized.

Debasement of acquired credibility, when the brand as such is clearly referable to the same company, but instead of underlining its renewal and projection towards the future, it generates a feeling of weighting and involution.

At this point, it is necessary to make an important distinction: in fact, modifying the brand has a different impact depending on whether the company involved sells products/services or is a company that "lives" on the attention of its users, such as large social media or search engines.

In the first case, certainly the attention given to its image, although important, is secondary in comparison to the quality and efficiency of the product/service offered. In the second case, on the contrary, the business model is based on monopolizing the attention of users, so innovating and making their brand interesting becomes an integral part of business strategy.

Before embarking on a restyling operation, it is good to understand the reasons behind this choice and the message that is intended to be communicated. Usually, through restyling, companies aim on the one hand to increase the level of engagement with the outside world, which is asked - via the operation of renewal - to pay attention to the products and services on offer. On the other hand, it is a useful tool for communicating important changes characterizing the company, such as the expansion of the business sector, a new commitment to social issues, the acquisition of new industrial techniques, etc..

Turning now to the legal aspects, when the restyling concerns a registered trademark, the issue of the management of the transitional phase from the old to the new sign arises.

Firstly, it is important to know that any changes to the trademark, even if minimal, will make it necessary to proceed with a new filing at the competent national and international offices, if the intention is to register the aforesaid mark (which is certainly recommended). The decision to proceed with a new filing also brings with it the need to ask oneself whether - once the previous trademark has reached the expiry of the 10 years from registration - it is advisable to keep both trademarks registered or proceed only with the most updated one.

Certainly, the maximum protection is offered by registration, but our legal system also offers protection to unregistered trademarks already known on the market, so-called "de facto trademarks", guaranteeing that similar or identical trademarks cannot be registered. In this sense, even if the registration of a previously used trademark is not renewed, it will still be possible to obtain its protection by demonstrating its use and reputation.

In addition to the matter of registration, the restyling operation must be supported by an adequate prior art search, so as to avoid causing infringements of another person’s distinctive signs. This is particularly true when the renewal of the trademark is not limited to minor alterations but includes the insertion of new figurative elements or colours that were not previously used.

Telling people about yourself is an integral part of doing business, and the main tool for achieving this is the brand. If it is essential to seize the opportunity to communicate the changes in your company through a restyling operation for it to be successful, it is equally essential to take due care in carefully examining all aspects, from the most commercial to the legal ones.

[1] We talk about rebranding when the distinctive signs are completely rethought to reflect a new conception of the product or of the company.
[2] GAP case: the brand was withdrawn soon after its release because it was unanimously considered a clear worsening of the historical brand.