Supporting world domination: How IP support helped Lockabox’s global plans

Supporting world domination: How IP support helped Lockabox’s global plans

Industry disruptors and makers of portable, lockable storage boxes, Lockabox, are planning for global success after advice and support from Harper James has empowered them to take their business worldwide.

Peter Morris, Founder and Director of Lockabox, had his ‘lightbulb’ moment whilst studying at Southampton University. Frustrated that his flat mates were stealing his food and when he couldn’t find a secure lockable container that could be refrigerated, Peter set out to create a solution. Here, the original idea of Lockabox was born. 

Peter contacted Harper James in 2016 when he was still a student at University, after signing up to the firm’s Enterprise subscription scheme, when he set out a plan to register the Lockabox trade mark.

After numerous attempts, Peter was finding it difficult to register his trade mark and was concerned about protecting his brand from competitors. Utilising his Enterprise subscription with Harper James, intellectual property solicitor Lindsay Gledhill and legal assistant Adam Khattak stepped in to support.

‘There is lots of confusing information on the internet when it comes to registering your trade mark. Not to mention the legal jargon. It’s not entirely clear what businesses should do.’ said Peter.

‘I was searching for affordable legal support, and the subscription service allowed me to access legal support when I didn’t think it would be possible. This way I didn’t have to rely on Google! And it’s really important that businesses get the right advice at the start, so they don’t fall short at a later date.’

Working closely with Lockabox, Lindsay helped Peter create a trade mark strategy with the goal of getting the Lockabox word mark registered. The strategy included:

  • Rebranding products - Placing a focus on creating product names to make it more difficult to use the name Lockabox descriptively
  • Restructuring its advertising, listings and general content to ensure the Lockabox mark is being used consistently to support a case for registrability
  • Educating the public of the Lockabox brand

Lindsay said ‘Some businesses need time to allow its brand to acquire a distinctive character before applying for a trade mark, especially where its mark could be seen as descriptive or suggestive of the goods and services being offered under the mark.'

'The way Lockabox was using its mark was not advancing its case for getting the Lockabox word mark registered. Trade marks must be capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one business from those of another. Where trade marks are being used descriptively, it dilutes the distinctive character of the mark.’ 

Lindsay and Adam also helped Lockabox access intellectual property funding to support its strategy.

‘To use the funding, we had to use other solicitors to deal with our intellectual property. It was an interesting comparison dealing with another law firm, as with them we felt like a number on a piece of paper. It’s not like that at Harper James.’ Said Peter. 

After the trade mark strategy was in place, and Lockabox revised its branding, Peter was ready to apply for his trade mark again. The application was successful and Lockabox now has a registered UK word mark. 

Peter said ‘The strategy Lindsay and Adam helped us with allowed us to create a strong case to be a brand and not just a product. And this has really helped us formulate our plans to go global.’ 

And Lockabox’s ambitions haven’t stopped at just dominating the UK. With advice from Lindsay, Lockabox are now applying for trade marks in the US, Japan, UAE, Australia, India, China and the EU. Harper James now manages the company’s trade mark portfolio and acts as legal counsel globally for the firm.

Adam said ‘Peter and the team at Lockabox have really taken the business to new heights. They have very ambitious plans for taking the business globally, and I’m very confident they will have no issue growing the business even further over the next few years.’ 

‘Lindsay has become an extension of the team’ Peter said ‘She has even created templates for us to request affiliations with other companies to use our brand for commercial gain and advised us how we can integrate affiliate marketing into our wider marketing strategy to increase brand awareness’.

Lindsay recently held a marketing and IP strategy presentation with the Lockabox team, making sure those working internally and externally with the company knows how to use Lockabox’s trade marks to their full potential, keep the company protected and maintain consistency with the company’s branding.

Peter said ‘Lindsay has been very direct and pragmatic and has given us great advice on how we can use our trade mark commercially. She has made sure the company is legally compliant and that our brand name is protected.’ 

Harper James’ CEO, Toby Harper said ‘Lockabox was an early subscriber to our Enterprise service, and it is a perfect example of how the service can really support a business from start up to scale up. It’s been amazing watching Peter take Lockabox from an idea he had in his bedroom at University, to now a global company. A true success story and a great example of why I chose to offer affordable legal support, to empower and support entrepreneurs across the country.’

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