It is a new year, it’s a new start after a very long 2020! Many of you and us:) have started businesses during 2020 and this article will help put your new business on the right foot to maximize the benefits of trademark registrations, whether for your newly created name or logo!
Logo’s give companies’ instant recognition with consumers and when properly created, built and protected, logos can have tremendous marketing power. I know you just started and have too many things to do, I advise you to think from the ground up and start by creating a unique and recognizable name and logo.
Related Blog: How to Create a Strong Trademark?
With all the information and graphic resources online, it is important to protect yourself by;
èMaking sure you are not using someone else’s trademark
è Protecting your trademark in the country you want to work in
The best way to protect your name or logo is by registering it as a trademark therefore protecting the name or logo from being used by other similar companies, and as importantly protects you from a claim others may make against you from unknowingly infringing upon an existing name or logo.
Before starting the trademark, registration process there are two critical questions which impact trademark protection;
Trademark rights are afforded by country, so where you want protection is important before you start the process of protection. Entrepreneurs with big dreams almost always say internationally, which is great it shows aspiration and motivation, but not necessarily realism. Keep in mind your trademark strategy should follow your business strategy so check where you are operating initially and start there then slowly and surely you can expand the scope as you grow internationally.
Trademarks are not protected in the absolute, there are 45 classes for goods and services which are used to classify trademarks. Before you start the protection process you should check what specifically you want to protect your trademark on. Protecting your trademark on everything is costly and in-efficient use and allocation of your funds, so be specific with your scope of protection and surely you will grow and expand it with time.
A Trademark Search can be completed before you register your trademark to determine whether or not the name or logo you are trying to register has been used by someone else. Searches are not required, but are helpful in some instances as they may save you money by showing similar trademarks which may impede your registration.
Whether or not you decide to do a search is your call, based on my experience searches are helpful in some counties not in all. The first step in actually protecting your name is by completing official documents, paying official fees and filing your trademark with the government. you can also do so on our platform. this first step is referred to as filing and from the moment you submit your application and pay the fees then the trademark protection starts.
After filing, the government checks the trademark application to make sure there are no conflicts with other famous or registered marks then accepts the application or rejects it. If the application was accepted then you as an owner should submit fees and submit official documents to move the trademark to a second phase called the publication phase, whereby the marks is published to the public for a period or 1 to 4 months depending on the country. If the trademark completes the publication period with no opposition from third parties, then it can officially move to the third and final phase of protection which involves settling final registration fees and issuing a certificate of ownership.
It takes between 4 to 24 months to secure a trademark registration depending on the country. However, since you are protected from the date of filing, you can begin using your trademark immediately.
Trademark rights are amazing, they last forever, but to have that option, maintaining and renewing trademarks is key;
Trademark renewals should be filed every 5 years, 7, ten or fifteen years depending on the country of interest. There is often a grace period for late renewal of 6 months, however this depends on the country. For more information about trademark renewals read our blogs about:
What to do if you forget to renew your trademark
Renewing your trademark in the European Union, Renewing your trademark in the USA.
To keep a trademarks active and enforceable, you have to make sure to maintain the protection, this means that you have to use the trademark regularly. Some countries even require the submission of a proof of use document every 5 years to ensure a trademark is maintained. This does not mean that countries which do not have this requirement you should not use your trademark, because in most trademark laws a key requirement to maintain a trademark right is to use it.
Maintaining your trademark also entails stopping others from using your trademark and diluting your rights. THis can be regular watches of the market in order to see if anyone is using a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar. Another way is to watch the official gazette in the countries you are protected in to check if there are any trademarks filed or registered which are identical or confusingly similar.
We hope you are all keeping safe and looking forward to the year to come! 2020 was tough on all of us. Lets look to the future and plan for our success with calculated steps to ensure our success.
Good luck everyone and if you need help
Your Trademark team!