When embarking a business, it’s quite easy to get baffled by the proportion of paperwork that demands your attention. Yet one crucial decision that many entrepreneurs end up neglecting. This is the decision to protect their intellectual property by filing with proper licenses like trademarks, copyrights, and patent. Having proper intellectual property rights is extremely important for the long-term success of the venture.
In this article, we discuss 7 things that will help the entrepreneurs explore further in reference to trademarks.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is something that is used to distinguish the goods or services of one business from those of another.
The chief purpose of the trademark is to prevent the likelihood of consumer dubiety. The mark provides information about the particular good based on the business’s association with the mark.
A trademark can be used to protect words, phrases, color schemes, holograms, motion marks, packaging of goods or logos/symbols that are associated with the brand. A mark to be used/being used is commerce is only eligible for trademark registration.
How is a trademark different from patents/ copyrights?
Copyright, patent, and trademark are all different types of intellectual property licenses. Although the three types of IP are very different yet people often confuse them.
|What’s Protected?||Original works of authorship, such as books, articles, songs, photographs, sculptures, choreography, sound recordings, motion pictures, and other work.||Inventions, such as processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter as well as improvements to these||Any word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others|
|Requirements to be Protected||A work must be original, creative and fixed in a tangible medium||An invention must be new, useful and nonobvious||A mark must be distinctive (i.e., that is, it must be capable of identifying the source of a particular good)|
|Term of Protection||Author’s life plus 70 more years.||20 years||For as long as the mark is used in commerce|
|Rights Granted||Right to control the reproduction, making of derivative works, distribution and public performance and display of the copyrighted works||Right to prevent others from making, selling using or importing the patented invention||Right to use the mark and to prevent others from using similar marks in a way that would cause a likelihood-of-confusion about the origin of the goods or services.|
What are the different types of trademarks?
A generic mark receives no protection because it does not identify the source of goods or distinguish the goods from others. Such a mark would include a general, a natural reference or a class of products.
A descriptive mark, which describes a product or service, grants better protection. Similar to a generic mark, it can refer to broad classes of things and thus may not be helpful in distinguishing a good/service from others. However, if consumers view the mark as having a secondary meaning, then the descriptive mark may obtain legal protection.
A suggestive mark does not describe the good or service being sold but suggests a characteristic or quality of the product with the help of the consumer’s imagination. Thus, a suggestive mark is “inherently distinctive” and receives relatively strong trademark protection relative to a descriptive mark.
A fanciful or arbitrary mark is unrelated to the good or service being sold and so receives the strongest trademark protection. The mark may not make sense, may be made up, or maybe an established word that is entirely unrelated to the good/service being offered.
What are the legal benefits offered by trademarks?
A registered trademark can be licensed, giving the owner the right to use the mark exclusively in respect of goods or services covered under it. Perhaps the vital reason for trademark registration is the powerful remedies against its unauthorized use. A trademark license can be listed on the trademark register, giving the licensee the rights to institute legal proceedings in the event of infringement.
A registered trademark can be deposited as security, meaning that a registered trademark can be pledged as security to secure loan facilities just as immovable property can be bonded.
A very crucial reason for trademark registration is to create the mask as a legal identifiable intangible property. Trademark registration is a value store of the value attaching to the goodwill that the product enjoys.
A registered trademark is eligible for transfer. The same is not possible for a common-law trademark, which can be transferred with the business only.
Use in proceedings
The person registered as the proprietor of the trademark is the evidence of the original registration of the mark in the legal proceedings related to the mark unless the contrary is proved.
The right to use the symbol ® or “R” or word registered
Once the trademarks are registered the symbol ® or “R” or word “Registered” may be used for the goods and services listed in the registration.
A registered mark can be used as a basis to obtain registration in some foreign countries, facilitating protection of the brand worldwide as the business expands.
Why is trademark search important?
Before one decides on a name, it is highly recommended to carry out a professional trademark search. This will help to give information if any other company is using the same mark. Spend some time looking into existing trademarks yourself or, to be absolutely confident of your rights and fill out a form on TrademarkCart who’ll help you get everything in order.
What is trademark infringement?
If a business starts using identical or similar trademark like the one already registered on similar goods or services as the prior user, then the new user is likely to commit trademark infringement. If the mark used by the new user creates a “likelihood” of confusion, it leads to the issue of trademark infringement. In certain cases, the prior user has the two options to make the new user stop using the mark either by (a) shut down or (b) re-brand their goods/services.
Hence, it is advisable for the new user to conduct a trademark search before applying for trademark registration.
How to apply for trademark protection?
Protecting intellectual property rights might seem like something that can be delayed till the business expands. However, the decision to trademark your property should be viewed as the first step to achieving a successful business. Henceforth its advisable for all entrepreneurs to carry out proper procedures to ensure their intellectual property. TrademarkCart promises to be your best companion in this journey of tedious procedures.