Creativity makes the world go round. For every production you come up with, you contribute to the ease of life and enjoyment.
But as you create new ideas, someone with less creativity is bound to steal them from you. These people make you worry that your creation might end up not being yours.
Well, there’s no need to worry anymore because you can protect your ideas. How? You can start by learning about this incredible term called ‘Trademark.’ This article gives you a clear understanding of a trademark registration in Pakistan and the benefits of trademark registration.
What is a Trademark?
Trademark is one of the essential pillars of intellectual property that focuses on branding and protecting your business name.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the leading world authority on intellectual property and international trademark applications, a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
Similarly, the US Patent and Trademark Office, the body responsible for federal trademark registration, refer to a trademark as any word, name, sign, or symbol that customers use to identify you from the competition.
A trademark or a service mark, which applies to a service, can be a name used to indicate and distinguish the source of a brand from other businesses just like it.
When you sell a product/service, you do so under a particular brand name as a means of identification for your business. Once you operate under this name or brand, it’s unique to you, and no company outside your creation is allowed to use your name.
For example, Coca-Cola is a well-known trademark for the fizzy drinks company, and its name distinguishes it from other renowned companies like Pepsi. If Pepsi were to start producing a drink called ‘Coca-Cola,’ it’d create chaos and confusion and probably result in a consumer boycott.
A trademark is not limited to just your brand name. It also covers business logos, designs, signatures, catchphrases, or a mixture of these components to set yourself apart from the competitors. For example, you only have to see the Macdonald’s logo on a package of burgers and fries to recognize the franchise.
What is Trademark Registration?
Previously, you could prove ownership of a trademark or service mark by constantly using the mark, but this is no longer the case. Now, you have to register your business name and logos in an approved trademark office to enjoy consistent and peaceful usage for your business.
Registration of a trademark is the act of taking necessary measures to ensure that the law adequately protects your brand name and identity for your exclusive use.
An individual or a company can register a trademark/service mark. As long as you have a brand or an identity to protect, you’re eligible to register a trademark. There are a few exceptions to words, names, or phrases that you can get a registered trademark for:
You cannot register a similar or ‘confusingly similar’ trademark to another brand.
You cannot get a registered trademark on just any general word or phrase. A word or phrase cannot only be trademarked based on its relevance to your business.
How to Conduct a Federal Trademark Registration?
Before registering a trademark or service mark, make sure you’re not infringing on the rights of another trademark owner. Research the name, logo, or design you plan to register as your trademark. Google or any other search engine can tell you if someone else already has an existing registration.
You can also use the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System(Tess). TESS checks for an existing trademark or a live application in America. Using TESS is a simple process. If there are no current applications or trademarks, you can claim them as yours.
2. Use Your Trademark
Your chosen mark has to be used or associated with the particular goods or services you intend to sell. You stand the possibility of losing that trademark if you can’t prove continuous use.
3. Fill Out a Trademark Application
Once you’ve covered all the basics, you can go to the US Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) website to officially register your trademark by filling out an application.
If your application meets all the legal requirements, the USPTO issues a public notice to allow anyone with an objection to come forward with their reasons for opposing the registration. If there are no objections after 30 days, you own the trademark.
When you register your trademark with the USPTO, you get federal protection. If there’s a trademark infringement of your brand, you can pursue the case in a federal court and claim damages where appropriate.
To renew your registration, you can ask for free consultation from NAZ Intellectuals Services, or you have to file an affidavit of continuous use every five years to prove that you’re still selling the goods or services associated with the brand. You keep the ownership of your trademark this way.
You can always register a trademark by yourself; however, it’s always advisable to seek legal advice from a trademark attorney. Attorneys are usually more experienced and aware of the requirements of registering a trademark. What’s more, they have access to a broader network of information of already existing brands, so you don’t trademark something similar to another business.
What are the Benefits of a Trademark Registration?
Registering a trademark or service mark is crucial for several apparent and not so obvious reasons:
Access to the ® Symbol
Any registered or unregistered trademark owner can use the ™ sign. Only a federal registered trademark can use the ® symbol, which offers a broader spectrum of legal rights and protection than the unregistered mark.
Trademark Registration Certificate
When you register your trademark, you receive a certificate as proof of registration. This certificate awards you a legal presumption of ownership and is enough evidence that the law acknowledges your brand.
In other words, while an unregistered trademark owner has to invent ways to convince people that they own the trademark to their brand, a registered trademark owner has a legal document to that effect.
It also serves as concrete evidence in a trademark infringement case.
Providing Legal Protection for Your Brand
Legal recognition/protection is perhaps one of the most important reasons for registering a trademark. Registering your business as a trademark not only ensures that the law recognizes your business identity but also grants you legal priority over the competition.
Also, in a trademark infringement case, you enjoy exclusive privileges and have the right of audience in a federal court to claim statutory damages if you suffer any loss.
Trust is vital in running a business. Customers don’t just buy your products or services, but the brand’s integrity.
People are usually wary of brands they haven’t heard of or are trying out for the first time. You can motivate true in your start-up by legally registering your brand as a trademark.
An unregistered business is convenient as long as your business remains small scale and centered around the community you live. If you’re ever to expand, it would be more beneficial to have a registered trademark. A registered trademark offers your business nationwide validity outside a particular demographic area.
Most countries don’t recognize an unregistered brand. Foreigners hesitate to invest in a company without a registered trademark.
While you enjoy certain rights with an unregistered mark, there’s a limit. A federally-registered trademark from an acknowledged trademark office gives you more extensive trademark protection.
An experienced trademark attorney can help you fill out the trademark applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.
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