Trademarks are signs that are capable of differentiating between the goods or services of a particular business organization from commodities of other enterprises. They are protected by IP rights.
How to Protect Trademarks
At the regional level, protection can be acquired via registration by completing a registration application form with the national trademark office. You will also be required to pay the requisite fees.
If you need international protection, there are two options that can be pursued. The first option involves using WIPO’s Madrid System, whereas the second option involves submitting an application to the national trademark office.
Rights provided by Trademark Registration
Principally, registering a trademark grants you the exclusive right of using the trademark. In simple terms, it means that as the owner, you can exclusively utilize it or authorize another party to commercially exploit it in return for financial reward.
Registration essentially offers legal certainty. Additionally, it reinforces your position as the holder of the rights, especially when there’s need for litigation.
For How Long does the Protection Last?
In most countries, trademark protection usually lasts for 10 years. However, the term may vary from one country to another, depending on various factors.
Upon expiry of the term, you have the liberty to apply for renewal. The only thing you will need to do is to express your continued interest in the protection and pay the required fees.
Since, the rights are private in nature; they are strictly enforceable through court orders.
For a trademark to be registered, it must consist of a word, group of words, numerals, or letters.
A trademark can also be registered if it is in the form of a drawing, a feature with three dimensions (like packaging and shape of certain goods), a symbol, a non-visible sign like fragrance and sound, or colour shades that are used to distinguish features.
Even though measures have been put in place to enable people file, register or enforce their rights in multiple legal jurisdictions (across national boundaries), filing and obtaining a single registration that can automatically be applied around the world is still impossible. In other words, trademark laws have an element of territoriality.
Maintenance of Rights
Are you aware that trademark rights can only be maintained through continued lawful utilization of the trademark? Your rights, for instance, become void if you fail to actively use it for five years.
Enforcement of Rights
Legally, the degree to which you may prevent the unauthorized use of a trademark is dependent on various factors. They include; whether it is registered (or not registered), how widely the trademark is known, similarity between or among the trademarks and how similar the involved services or products are.