By Erica Rickey, Practice Manager and Paralegal

The economic recession of 2008 taught us that solid businesses with a brand, an IP strategy, and the drive to pursue opportunities will thrive no matter the economic climate. If you can add value for your customers, you will be successful.

For example, the household name Lego came out of the 2008 recession stronger than before it. Though a toy company is not what first comes to mind when considering what types of businesses will grow during an economic downturn, Lego did just that. They actually reported a profit throughout the last recession. The quality and durability of their products, coupled with the countless ways Lego blocks can be combined and enjoyed by people of all ages, made their products a desirable one-stop toy decision, particularly when there are fewer dollars to go around.

While capitalizing on the success of their brand, Lego also made sure to keep up with their intellectual property filings around the world. They regularly sought to protect new designs for their blocks, filing many design patents in the U.S., such as D614,249 and D616,504, both of which have corresponding applications in other IP offices around the world. This enables Lego to enforce their rights against competitors, ensuring that they will stay the brand people turn to time and time again.

Lego also took the opportunity to further expand their market beyond the United States, focusing on large markets in Asia and Europe that were not as harmed by the 2008 recession. The combination of a good product, the IP to back it up, and the strategy to move into more markets made Lego profitable while other businesses ground to a halt.

Lego has always been a market leader in its toy niche, combining quality at its core and a drive to bring products to customers all around the world. To learn more about their history and success, continue reading Richard’s blog on the “Billion Dollar Lego Patent.”

As daunting as it can be to begin a new business even in the best of markets, companies like Venmo and Uber have shown us that even startups can find success during economic downturns, going on to become two of today’s most recognizable brands.

Venmo, a money transfer app popular among millennials, was created by two friends in 2009 as a way to reduce transfer fees. Solving that problem for their customers enabled them to enjoy enough success that they were bought by a larger payment processor, Braintree, for $26 million in 2012, which was then acquired by PayPal in 2013 for $300 million.

Uber, the rideshare app that disrupted a long-standing market, was founded in 2009 by two businessmen who couldn’t find a taxi and longed to solve that problem for other people. Since then, Uber has expanded their brand across the globe, and now offers services in related sectors, such as food delivery. Uber’s ability to create convenience and competitive prices for their customers was especially exciting during the worst recession in decades.

One way to ensure that your business is the one that stands out is to translate your solutions into valuable, enforceable intellectual property. We have helped clients protect their brands through trademark registrations, protect their products and methodologies through issued patents, and enforce their intellectual property rights in courts.

Call us to discuss how we can help you and your business use intellectual property to succeed in your competitive arena.