Trademark is a type of Intellectual Property rights that is used to distinguish one’s business goods or services from those of other traders. Trademark is one of the most important valuable assets of a business. A trade mark may consist of a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colors or any combination thereof;
Choosing the right name/business representation word, logo, device or any other form of business representation is generally the first asset created by an entrepreneur. A well planned and designed distinctive trade mark aids in building valuable public goodwill and brand reputation to goods and services, brand recall leads to greater sales, profitability and a valuable asset to a business as a whole.
Registering a Trade mark has pertinent advantages in terms of financial value and preventing competitors. Registration of mark helps in establishing rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. Risk clearance can be achieved by performing a search to identify similar marks and analyzing risk levels during the process of registration, which in turn minimizes worthless investment in building brand value.
While it is important to register a trademark, following guidelines have to be kept in mind. Ensure that the name, logo or any other representation shortlisted is capable of achieving strong Trade mark protection. It is well settled under the Trademark law that a fanciful (newly coined word) or arbitrary (having no connection to business) marks have the strongest protectability. While it is tempting to choose a word that is suggestive or descriptive, such a mark, to start with does not give very strong protection and must be avoided.
Once a word or representation is chosen, it is important to ensure that such mark has not been filed or registered or being used by someone else. The task can be accomplished by performing a search on public Trademark databases.
File a Trade mark application in the most relevant class/classes. Depending on the financial status of the business, a Trade mark application must be filed at the earliest in the most important class.
Businesses are advised to give notice of its marks, it is important for every business to incorporate notices whenever the mark is used in the following format: Trademark notice format: R in a circle if the Trade mark is registered, or TM as superscript, if the Trade mark is not registered.
While it is important to be passionate about the business and its representation, every entrepreneur must get the right advice on strategy and the different ways to protect their trademark, so one can use the IP systems to fullest advantage. Choosing the right IP attorney aids in assessing and managing the risks in a practical manner.