Protecting Your Brand Through Trademark Registration

Trademarks are often overlooked by many businesses. This unfortunate fact has led to legal repercussions and lawsuits, with companies battling for intellectual property rights in court. Business owners often forget that trademark registration is as crucial as proper budgeting and allocation of resources. Having a registered mark can pave assurance and security for your organization in the long run.

Establishing your trademark or brand is not the end of it. You might have registered a trendy, professional company name – but you must also work hard to uphold the organization’s reputation. Accordingly, it is only pivotal to protect your brand if you want your business endeavor to achieve success. Consumers would want to patronize a brand that they can wholeheartedly trust.

Trademark Registration

Before you register trademark, you must first have a firm understanding of trademarks itself. A dictionary definition would tell you that a trademark is: any unique word, phrases, symbol, or name that distinguishes (or identifies) the products of a seller from the rest. A classic example is Nike’s swoosh/check logo, which is now recognized across the globe.

Trademarks enable the seller to protect what’s being trademarked (goods/services) from use or misuse by other competitors. Establishing a brand also develops patronage and loyalty among avid customers.

Additionally, trademarks that are registered with register trademark in Singapore also prevent confusion and manipulation of consumers who associate certain attributes with a brand. This is particularly true among people who seek the highest quality in the products they buy. For instance, people associate bags from signature brands with class, elegance, and the best quality. Designer brands then necessarily have to register TM if they want to protect their name and their brand.

Is it Unique?

In deciding which logo or trademark to use for your company’s trademark, ask yourself this question first: Is it unique? A unique brand name is important to create an impact among potential consumers.

A logo is considerably unique when combined with the appropriate symbol/s, along with the company name, proper spatial relationship, and effective coloring. The more unique your brand is, the better it’d be in distinguishing your brand among the many other brands in Singapore and across the globe.

Generic Terms

When it comes to trademark registration, brand names and assets can only be legally trademarked if they meet certain qualifications. These assets include logos and taglines, as well as packaging. A commonly used phrase cannot be trademarked, nor is a name that is already used/connected with another commercial product or service.

With that, generic terms such as “smart phone” and “computer” cannot be legally trademarked – but unique names such as Apple’s “iPhone” and “iMac Pro” can be.

Advertising

If your business is aiming to advertise directly to customers, it is encouraged to register trademark beforehand. It is a pivotal move in connecting your company’s name to its brand and other attributes, especially when you’re using your business name in direct communication among customers.
You must prioritize trademark registration if your brand name is a large part of your marketing. So, before you use your business name on fliers, website posts, or press releases – ensure that it’s trademarked. Doing so will protect you from being liable in any copyright infringement lawsuits.

Registration Process

1. Creating a distinctive trademark – As was previously mentioned in this article, design a distinctive brand name which is non-generic and not currently in use by other companies. Also, don’t mislead the public about the goods and services that you offer. An effective trademark must encapsulate what you’re offering so that at first glance, consumers or customers will already have an idea if they need what you’re offering.

2. Identification of Applicable Class of Goods and Services – Singapore follows the International Classification of Goods and Services in classifying trademarks, which means that we recognize 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services. To determine the applicable classes on your business, consider the current business you are in and any other business endeavors you are likely to venture into in the future.

3. Filing an application – Minimum requirements include:

    a. A statement of request for registration

    b. Owner’s name and address

    c. List of goods and services you are registering (classified accordingly with the International Classification of Goods and Services’ list)

    d. Clear graphical representation of your trademark (any 3D packaging or shape must have clear line drawings showing the dimensions of the mark)

    e. Declaration of your proposed use of the trademark

4. Review by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) – The office will then review your application thoroughly to ensure that it meets the minimum filing requirements. Should there be any missing details or inappropriately filled sections, your application may be sent back to you. Once you’ve passed this stage, a date of filing will be accorded and a trademark number will be issued to you. This information will be given through an official acknowledgement letter.

5. Screening for conflicts with existing trademarks – After officially acknowledging your trademark, the registrar will then conduct a formal search and screening for conflicting marks and conformance to the International Classification of Goods and Services. Your application will be in the spotlight once again, confirming if the mark is in accordance with Singaporean Trademark laws.

6. Public advertisement – If the application is successfully processed, it will be published and made available for public viewing for public scrutiny. This means that any third party may be able to oppose the mark’s registration within two months of the publication period. You will be notified and prompted to respond urgently if your application receives any opposition. After hearing both parties, a decision on the application will be concluded.

7. Official registration – If there is no opposition to your application, or if the opposition hearing is in favor of your trademark’s registration, you will be issued an official Certificate of Registration. Your trademark will also be rightfully protected for ten years.