January 29, 2019
The international paint manufacturer, Teknos, is enjoying huge growth. It is patiently building its IP strategy by trusting the strong experience of another traditional family-owned business, Kolster.
The cooperation between Teknos and Kolster in the protection of the TEKNOS® brand began almost 60 years ago. With growth and internationalisation, the cooperation has deepened into a close partnership valued by both parties.
“In a family-owned business, continuity is an important value, and we seek to have close cooperation with local family-owned businesses. Kolster knows the protection history and sector of our company. That is something I consider highly important in managing IP matters and in increasing our brand value,” says Minna Koistinen, Marketing and Communications Manager, in charge of Teknos’s trademark portfolio and brand.
European Trademark Attorney, Kristiina Kaislisto has taken care of the protection of the Teknos brand and trademark watching for the past sixteen years together with the Kolster trademark team.
“Long cooperation brings about efficiency and insight into an IP specialist’s work, too. When I’m more deeply involved in the business operations, I can be of more use and introduce new ideas and thoughts from the IP viewpoint.”
“We obtained extensive protection for the logo and brand”
Intense product development and problem-solving innovative products have been the core of the TEKNOS® brand from the day the company was set up. The company name itself contains the idea of technical knowledge.
The TEKNOS® brand came into being in 1948 in an old farm in Tuomarila, Espoo, where the henhouse of the farm was refurbished as a product development laboratory and the first paint factory. In the comfort of the henhouse, the company’s first product was created, the TUOMO caseine paint. The very following year, the innovative and still available anti-rust paint, FERREX®, was developed, solving the problem of leaking roofs and arousing interest among foreign clients,, too. Together with his family, Osmo Kiikka, involved in the development of the product, set out to take the company towards success.
FERREX® is also the first brand in the history of the company, which is protected by a trademark. Kolster filed for a registration of the product name in 1959, which started the cooperation that has continued for decades.
“Currently, Teknos has hundreds or brands, and we operate in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, and the USA. In 70 years, the company has made a leap from a henhouse into a global actor,” says Minna Koistinen.
Teknos fosters its origin in the company logo in which the paintbrush is presented in a cockerel’s form.
“It is important for us that our cockerel logo and the TEKNOS® brand are extensively covered in the countries where we have business operations. We have also registered all the important brands as trademarks so that they support our international growth,” Minna Koistinen explains the extensive protection strategy of the company.
A year ago, the mission of the company was also crystallized as part of the brand story and was protected as one of the cornerstones of the brand when domestic and international trademark registrations were sought for the slogan We make the world last longer®.
“We extend and update our trademark portfolio”
The first generation of the family-owned business created a firm basis for business activities on the Finnish market, and brands such as VISA® and KIRJO®, protected by Kolster, became household names for Finns.
As of 1986, business operations saw a major boost in Europe, which created the need to protect the brand and the increasing product offering on the international market. Later on, the company has quickly grown and become international through acquisitions. The many products developed for the needs of the professionals in the industry and construction sector, such as AQUATOP® and INERTA®, have become more and more important product groups.
Additional challenges for managing the product brands and trademark portfolio have emerged due to the acquisitions in which more and more new brands have found their way under the cockerel logo. Kolster’s attorney help has been needed in the analyses and evaluations of the IP assets, as well as in transfers of IP rights in a managed manner to the Teknos Group or newly established subsidiaries.
“We have considered it an intelligent move to concentrate the increasing number of trademarks to be managed by one reliable and experienced partner,” says Minna Koistinen.
The Kolster team has taken good care of expanding, maintaining, and updating the trademark portfolio in a manner that supports business operation in the growth bursts of the company and at the various stages of the lifecycle of hundreds of products.
“We have been most pleased with the service and expertise we have been given. In Kolster’s care, the management of a global trademark portfolio has always been straightforward. Without Kolster’s help, we could not manage this extensive whole.”
“We monitor our rights and defend the brand”
The most important asset Teknos has is its own brand. That is why trademark infringements are ferociously intervened and the brand is actively defended.
“Through official trademark registers, we monitor that competitors cannot register trademarks that could be mistaken for Teknos’s trademarks, or trademarks that are too similar to our trademarks. Teknos’s own retail network and subsidiaries actively keep an eye on products introduced to the market and report any infringements that are forwarded to us to be sorted out and solved,” Kristiina Kaislisto explains.
Thanks to trademark watch and market monitoring, we have been able to intervene harmful registrations or infringing use in time.
“A large trademark portfolio and extensive operation within the EU area and outside unavoidably causes conflicts. However, an amicable settlement can almost every time be found for them. At the moment, I have on my desk approximately ten EU trademark opposition cases to which I seek the best possible solution from the viewpoint of Teknos,” says Kristiina Kaislisto.
Joint sparring in strategy discussions
In daily cooperation, Minna Koistinen appreciates the fact that things are quickly solved by discussions.
“We have a good dialogical connection. We meet regularly every quarter and go systematically through larger definitions of policy.
In 2017, Teknos concluded the biggest acquisition in its history by purchasing Feyco Treffert that has business operations in Europe, Asia, and the USA. Last autumn, Teknos additionally bought the parquet floor lacquer business of Kiilto.
“The deals have involved a lot of administrative work which Kolster has actively been providing for us over the past year. I examine(d) with Kristiina also the cost effects and potential IP risks that the brands or patents transferred to the Group or subsidiaries may be associated with in different operations models.
Teknos has just finalised the growth strategy of its business operations for the next few years, which also casts the basis for the IP strategy.
“We pondered how the IP strategy must change in the situation where we are more visibly present on the challenging markets of Asia and the United States. This requires from us more prioritization and strategic choices. The role of a competent IP partner is here of utmost importance, because it helps us operate on the global market more effectively than before.
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