Protecting your trade mark by registration is often overlooked by individuals and businesses alike, but the benefits that can be gained from your trade mark being registered can be long lived, and often come into fruition as your business flourishes. These benefits include (but are not limited to) control over the use of your brand by others, licensing the use of your trade mark for a fee, preventing others from entering the market with a confusingly similar or identical mark and more.
Why do I need to protect my trade mark?
A trade mark is a symbol of quality and trade marked goods are preferred by customers the world over simply because they assure people of a certain level of performance, functionality and durability. The first step towards protecting a trade mark is registering it. However, registration is not the end of it, having a federally registered trade mark does not automatically protect the mark.
You can register a name, logo, fanciful sign, arbitrary sign or a suggestive sign to protect your business and customer loyalty.
Obviously, there is always a chance for trade mark infringement. However, when yours are protected properly, you can be sure that you will always have an edge in the event of lawsuit. Unfortunately, things are not often that simple, as parties involved in the lawsuit will present evidences and arguments to make a strong claim that the trade mark is theirs. Therefore, it’s essential for you to follow closely the trade marking process.
Some of popular trade mark infringement lawsuits include Apple vs. Samsung, Gucci vs. Guess and Facebook, Inc. vs. Power Ventures, Inc. to name a few.
How do trade mark rights arise?
Trade mark rights arise from filing an application to register a mark in a Trade mark Office. In case business owners fail to apply for protection of your mark, others may benefit from investments that they have made both financial and non-financial such as brand building and brand loyalty. An application will determine the filing date as your date of priority of trade mark rights when the registration is issued.
As the owner, you need to protect your trade mark simply because trade mark Law puts the burden of policing a mark on the owner. As the owner here are some reasons why you need to protect your trade mark:
- Location and investigation of unauthorized uses of the mark by the trade mark owner is necessary failing which the owner stands at the risk of losing the mark altogether.
- The owner must pursue infringement of the mark to the extent necessary in order to ensure that the mark does not lose its distinctiveness. Neither is it diluted by widespread use.
- If a mark is widely used in the public eye consumer’s perception of the mark is lost or adversely affected.
- Any prestige associated with a certain trade mark will be lost if the mark is used on generic goods or spurious goods.
- Owners risk the loss of significance.
All this adversely affects a business and products branded under that mark. Failure to protect a trade mark results in loss of brand value and brand image.
So, what about the process; how to secure your trade mark? Trade Mark specialist from Stephens Scown Solicitors, Tom Moore, looks at the process to achieve trade mark registration.
Benefits of registering a trade mark
The perks of registering a trade mark are many. As a business owner you would do well if you considered one or many of the following benefits:
- A registered business name and logo and the goodwill associated with them are valuable assets for any business. Registration of the trade mark gives your business comprehensive protection and prevents others from using your name and/or logo.
- You can prevent others from using a similar name which may be easily confused with yours.
- A registered trade mark is a big form of security for your business.
- A registered trade mark can be a valuable asset in case you decide to sell your business. It commands greater commercial value. As a registered name or logo you are passing on a great asset to the new owner.
- You can transfer or license your trade mark rights against payment.
There are many other advantages associated with registration of a trade mark. The most important advantage is that registered trade marks are protected for the complete national territory, regardless of the actual geographic use made of the mark. It is also important to remember that securing a monopoly in your trade mark by registration provides certainty that attracts investment, trust and, ultimately, value.