Marketing professionals know that a strong brand identity is the reason that customers choose one product or service over another, and that embodied within a brand are all the values, qualities, characteristics or personality that a brand owner aspires to communicate to its customers.
What many brand owners sadly overlook is how vulnerable those brands can be unless they are protected effectively.
Registering a trade mark helps ensure that income is not lost and is a powerful weapon in preventing the abuse of a brand by competitors or criminals intent on misleading consumers.
We advise clients before they embark on the launch of a new product about the existing trade marks in their market sector, and take steps to differentiate their branding in such a way as to ensure it does not infringe existing trade mark registrations and ensure that the proposed new brand is itself capable of being protected.
Giving our clients commercially focused advise in relation to the use and protection of their brands prevents costly mistakes and ensures that they maximise the value of their brand.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding trade mark registrations.
Yes. It is a common error that registration of a company name provides trade mark protection. The registration of a company name only stops a third party from registering the identical company name. A company name registration does not enable you to stop a third party from using an identical or similar name or trade mark.
Yes, the brand name element or your URL should be registered as a trade mark wherever possible, although some descriptive URLs are not suitable for TM protection. As a general rule, domain names are issued on a first come first served basis, taking no account of existing trade mark registrations. Our trade mark attorneys will be happy to advise on whether your URL can be registered as a trade mark.
Any sign capable of being represented graphically that can distinguish the goods or services from those of other traders may be registered. Trade marks that are descriptive of the goods or services or are of a laudatory nature are not generally susceptible to registration. A trade mark application which is identical or confusingly similar to an existing trade mark registration is likely to be opposed.
A trade mark registration lasts for an initial period of 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely for similar periods subject to paying renewal fees.
Yes. If you don’t make use of your trade mark then after a period of time (five years in most jurisdictions) a third party can apply to have your registration cancelled.
The owner of a valid trade mark registration has exclusive rights in the relevant country/ territory to use that mark in relation to the products and/or services for which it is registered.
Only after you have registered the trade mark. It is generally an offence in most countries to use the ® symbol unless you own a registered mark.
The value of your franchise is connected to your brand, which needs to be fully protected by registration as a trade mark. When you sign up franchisees, they will be paying you for the right to use your trade mark under licence. If you fail to register your brand as a trade mark, your franchise operation could effectively be worthless.
Registering a trade mark is a powerful weapon in preventing the abuse of a brand
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