For all companies that are growing that are starting out, the need to protect trademarks or a logo for a business is not to be ignored. A trademark owner who has an officially registered trademark will be granted the exclusive ability to make use of their mark in the particular category of products or services. The owner will also be able to use the ability to stop competitors from who use their trademarks in infringement and profiting from their reputation earned through hard work.
In the majority of businesses that are registered, the name of the business and logo for the brand will likely to be at the center of any registration application. These are the images and words that are shown in the eyes of the public to differentiate the services and products offered (from those offered by its competition) and also to build trust and brand recognition.
In the event of registering a name for a business or logo, the proprietor can put third parties in the know that they are the owner of trademarks that are registered. The proprietor of the UK trademark is entitled to pursue competitors from third parties who attempt registration of a confusingly identical trademark or use similar marks as part of their business. This preventative tool reduces the possibility of a third party diluted the brand.
A trademark that is registered can be considered an intellectual property rights that may be used in the name of the owner. Where a business owner plans to franchise a business, they can licence the use of the trademark to franchisees/licensees in consideration for the licence fee.
Another example is selling a business. When negotiating an enterprise sale prospective buyers will seek confirmation from the vendor that their goodwill for the company is secured in order for the prospective buyer to get the sole right to use the company’s name and logo. If a seller does not provide these assurances, it could affect the price a buyer is willing to spend for the business.
Another factor to consider is image. Registered trademark owners are able to use an (r) symbol for their trademarks registered. The certificate of registration could be used to enhance professionalism for the target market.
Preventing Trademark Infringement
If a company begins marketing or promoting its brand without the trademark registered by a third party it could cause costly and time-consuming issues. These issues could halt process of developing a service or product prior to it getting up and running. In the event of a worst-case scenario the company that infringes could be a victim of injunction proceedings and ordered to completely change their logo and/or name and deliver offending products and compensate for damages, or even a share of the profits.
The Registration Process
There are a few legal reasons that may stop a trademark registration application from going in obtaining registration. A trademark is not just a description of the products and services offered and shouldn’t be common or generic.
Companies considering trademark protection must look through the trademark registry to make sure that the trademark sought isn’t too similar to other trademarks that are registered. A trademark application that is too similar to a trademark already in use might be challenged by a trademark owner who is registered.
It is also crucial to make sure that the trademark being applied to cover the countries that it operates in, and will cover all the categories of products or services it offers (there are 45 categories for use).
Visit the eutrademark.eu website for their excellent trademark search EU.
If an application for trademark registration is not required, a business may still benefit from its non-registered rights to goodwill. A process for enforcing registered rights by taking action for “passing off” is a different process than trademark infringement cases. For instance, when passing off, a defendant will have to show evidence of its goodwill with the mark , as well as the harm caused or the possibility of the damages.