The last form of intellectual property protection mechanism we shall be dealing with in this series is the trademark. So, what is a trademark?, I hear you cry. Well, put simply, it is a mark that one uses to trade with! Indeed, it is quite simply that. It is the distinctive design that describes your product, service or goods that you have chosen and which is identifiable by consumers in the market.
The trademark can take on many forms. It can be a name, a logo or a picture or any combination of these which together would form the mark of the brand that the owner would make himself or his products known in the market place. Several popular products and consumer goods are identifiable by these marks which the consumer recognises upon seeing them. Naturally, much goes into the creation of these marks which are also associated with the goodwill the brand would have acquired over the years. It is therefore possible, nay recommended, that one seeks to protect the intellectual property consisting of his brand by way of registering a trademark.
The process is jurisdictional, but nowadays it is also possible to obtain pan-european trademark registration, recognition and protection by virtue of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) – a consequence of the EU project. One can safely assume on the other hand, that very large brands would have obtained global trademark protection for their product, good or service as they seek to protect their multi-million dollar investment. That, of course, does not exclude the small or medium enterprise from achieving good levels of intellectual property protection given how accessible the EUIPO is.
In designing and submitting your trademark, you would need to ensure that your mark does not cause confusion of the ‘eye and ear’ with a similar product, good or service, in the mind of a consumer. If it does, and your competitor would have registered his mark prior to yours, or can show that his product and brand existed on the market prior to your registration, he would be able to successfully sue for trademark infringement. Therefore, it is important to bear in mind, that trademark registration does not offer absolute but only relative protection.
Your trademark strategy requires the serious, dedicated and professional advice that it can receive here at Calleja & Associates Advocates. Give us a call and you won’t be disappointed.