How to trademark your assets
What is a trademark?
A trademark or brandA brand is the image and personality of a product or service that a business provides. A product's features, such as logos or slogans, make it unique and different. Branding... More can take many forms. It can be a word, a logo, a shape, or even a sound – or a combination of any of these. In fact, technically a trademark is anything that distinguishes one product or service from others and indicates where it comes from. For the purposes of registration, however, a trademark must also be capable of being represented visually. Therefore, in practice, it is names, symbols, and combinations of these that are normally the focus of the registration process.
Registration of your logo, name or mark is beneficialA consistent branding programme offers the following benefits, it: • Influences the way people behave towards you • Provides clarity and consistency in all your communication • Makes it easier... More for your business for a number of reasons, so it’s worth thinking about from the very beginning.
How to protect a trademark?
Before commencing the use of a new business product or service name, Connexxions recommends that you search for possible conflicting marks. This is to ensure that the use of your chosen name does not infringe on any existing registered trademarks.
The best method to protect a name from the risk of copying by third parties, is to register it for the goods and/or services which they sell in the countries where they intend to trade.
It is possible to register trademarks in over 200 countries around the world. This can be done by individual applications in single countries, or under the Community trademark or International Registration systems. The CTM covers the whole of the EU and is organised through a central registry in Alicante. The International Registration can cover as many or as few of the member countries as you like from an ever growing list via a central office in Geneva.
Generally, trademark registrations last for 10 years and can be renewed for further 10 year periods, indefinitely.
Connexxions can assist you to develop a strategy for protecting your trademarks in the countries where you trade.
What makes a good trademark?
Trademarks identify where goods or services come from. Therefore, it is very important that a trademark stands out from those of other organisations and competitors. A good trademark should be:
- Easily pronounced
- Linguistically appropriate
Marketing specialists will often want a trademark to indicate some of the beneficial qualities of the product or the results that it can achieve, and will therefore favour a descriptive mark. However, from a legal point of view, a trademark should be capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of your competitors so that it is more likely to be able to be registered.
The best new trademarks often have no meaning. SONY is an example. An invented word may look strange and unattractive at first, but it is more likely to be registrable, will be easier to police and will eventually be more memorable.
Connexxions can assist with trademark creation and linguistic checks in key language countries.
Once registered, the ® symbol may be put next to your trademark on labels and in publicity material.
Before registration, or in other jurisdictions where you have no registrations or in respect of other goods or services, TM or SM may be used next to the trademark.
Connexxions recommends that a trademark notice is used e.g., “[Your trademark] is the registered trademark of [name of owner]”, where appropriate.
Connexxions also recommend that TM is used in respect of trademarks on websites because they can be viewed throughout the world and it is unlikely that the trademark will be registered in every country where it can be viewed.