From Idea to Trademark Registration – How can you come up with a Brand Name

If you have a new product, you undoubtedly need a new name. However, this statement is not as straightforward as it appears if you want an effective way of coming up with a brilliant brand name for your business. It may be a result of a reactive approach, wherein you wait until the product is almost ready to get launched before working hard on the same; however, the best practice always lies in being proactive. If you start working on the brand name before the product is realized, you will be able to save a lot of time and achieve the best possible outcome. To be specific, you need to involve with your product teams right from the beginning and ensure that all the legal and marketing functions are performed well.

With a new brand, it is always highly advisable to choose multiple potential names, that too, at the beginning of the process itself. The names should be selected based on a few criteria, including what the brand is for, which jurisdictions it needs to operate in, and how the brand name intends to engage the customers. It is a matter of fact that yes – the different parts of a business will most probably have different priorities for a brand name, and managing all the competing desires is a part of the overall process.

After shortlisting the brand names, you need to undertake multiple checks, which are as follows:

  1. You need to perform a Trademark Search, which can either be done in-house or with the help of an Intellectual Property (IP) It is imperative to check whether the names you want are available or not and whether they can be protected in the jurisdictions you are aiming for in your overall strategy.
  2. It is essential to think about all the countries and regions where you wish to use the brand name and also check for meanings in their local languages. In the past, several companies and organizations have made a lot of errors by launching brands with unintended and offensive meanings in other languages.
  3. In some industries like the pharmaceuticals, there may be regulatory constraints corresponding to the way you can name a product, which you must keep in mind.
  4. Without any doubt, there is a dire need to identify all your key markets and then create a filing strategy to protect the brand name.

In some industries, in particular, companies face challenges with brand names, specifically when we talk about name creation. In the fashion industry, for instance, the life span of a brand can be pretty short, and there is indeed no way of knowing how successful a particular brand can become. Consequently, you may require a high volume of brand names while operating in this industry. Another thing to notice in the fashion industry is that the companies need to develop the brands very quickly as they have to launch new ones every season. The same can put a lot of stress on a fashion company as the volume of search required in this process becomes high. Nevertheless, with the help of correct resources and a robust strategy, the companies can achieve success in this aspect as well.

If you can navigate well all the potential difficulties of coming up with a brand name, then it becomes a pretty straightforward process. By pooling ideas from the relevant stakeholders before the launch, you will get a lot of time and options for creating an efficient Trademark Registration strategy. However, there are a few pitfalls as well, which you need to be aware of, especially if you operate in a highly competitive environment. It is imperative not to fall into the registration gap, where you own protection in some jurisdictions and not in others. Hence, it is always worth coordinating all your filing efforts to make sure that you file in all your key jurisdictions at the same time. For doing the same, you need to work with the local agents or hire an external partner who will manage the process on your behalf.

Coming up with a new brand name can, at times, seem to be daunting, specifically; if we consider the fact that the brand is the root of a product’s value. But, with the help of the right approach, the process can always be productive and stress-free. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Glow & Handsome – HUL Seeks Injunction against Emami over Trademark Allegations

Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s (HUL) recent move to rename and rebrand its widely known skincare products – ‘Fair & Lovely’ to ‘Glow & Lovely’ and ‘Men’s Fair & Lovely’ to ‘Glow & Handsome’ – has now landed in the Bombay High Court.

The FMCG major, HUL, has quite recently moved for an injunction against Emami Ltd’s decision to initiate legal proceedings against it for Trademark Infringement. In its petition filed, HUL had sought that it should receive a legal notice at least seven days before Emami takes legal action. The court has now granted the interim relief to HUL.

According to HUL, Emami’s threats of legal proceedings are completely baseless as HUL applied for the trademark in question well before Emami. However, Emami has now been threatening HUL after launching ‘Glow & Handsome’ name change digitally and announcing the same one week before HUL.

In its petition filed, HUL claimed that it had applied for the Trademark Registration of the names of women’s and men’s skincare products with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, two years ago in September and October, respectively. However, both the trademarks were denied on 26th July 2019.

This year, HUL again decided to rename and rebrand its skincare products for projecting a way more inclusive idea of beauty. The company reapplied for the same names on 17th June and 25th June 2020, respectively. According to HUL, the announcement for the name change was made on 2nd July 2020, and the permission to sell the products under the new name came on 3rd July 2020. In a recent statement delivered, HUL stated that Emami is yet to launch a product under these two names.

After hearing all the preliminary arguments, the court noted that HUL is indeed the prior adopter of the mark as it did file the corresponding Trademark Applications first in September 2018 and then this year on 25th June. The court believes that the statements made by Emami do amount to a threat; however, after hearing both the sides, the court shall soon determine whether they are unlawful or groundless. The court has also directed Emami to give seven days prior written notice to HUL before taking any legal action against it. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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No More ‘Fair & Lovely’ – HUL Seeks Trademark Registration for ‘Glow & Lovely’

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) might soon greet all its customers with ‘Glow & Lovely’ from its shelves. The FMCJ major has decided to drop the word ‘Fair’ from its widely known fairness cream ‘Fair & Lovely’ and is now seeking the Trademark Registration for the new name ‘Glow & Lovely.’

Although HUL (the Indian subsidiary (headquartered in Mumbai) of Unilever PLC, which is a British-Dutch multinational company) hasn’t yet disclosed the new name for its ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand; however, the company, on 17th June 2020, did approach the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks to get the name ‘Glow & Lovely’ registered. As per various recent reports, the company’s Trademark Application, at present, has been sent for Vienna Codification, which helps to classify the figurative elements forming a part of the proposed trademark.

A spokesperson for HUL mentioned in a recent statement that Trademark Protection is a significant aspect for every other brand out there, and considering the same, the company has indeed applied for several trademarks. According to the spokesperson, some of the trademark applications have received the registration while some are pending. The company is looking forward to registering other brand names as well; however, at the same time, it also wants to manage the unveiling of the new brand name carefully. By doing the same, the company wishes to make sure that the market doesn’t become full of counterfeit and unsafe products.

In 2018 as well, HUL had applied for a trademark under the name ‘Glow & Lovely;’ it was, however, rejected.

In the “Goods and Service Description” in its recent trademark application, HUL has specified that the intended use of ‘Glow and Lovely’ will revolve around oils, soaps, lotions, creams, facial masks, beauty packs, to name a few. It will also cover shaving preparations, skincare preparations, pre-shave, and aftershave preparations, depilatory preparations, cologne, and sun tanning and sun protection preparations.

HUL has recently mentioned that it will remove the word ‘Fair’ from its widely known ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand as part of its parent Unilever’s global rebranding exercise. Although the move has come at a time where there are massive voices against racial stereotyping; however, HUL has insisted that its step has nothing do with the ongoing anti-racism movement in West. According to HUL, it has been efficiently working on the global evolution of the Rs 2000-crore brand for many years. The company has also mentioned that its other skincare portfolio shall adopt a holistic vision towards beauty, too, by celebrating all skin colors and caring for everyone. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Understanding the Importance of Trademarks for Small Businesses

Unless you own a Registered Trademark, your idea, concept, and unique branding can freely be stolen by your competitors in the present fast-paced society, which is indeed something you would never want to happen. After you spend all the time, effort, and money on your unique and creative branding, it becomes convenient for other businesses to copy what initially belongs to you. Therefore, without any second thoughts, small businesses do need to have a registered trademark like any other type and size of business out there.

Small businesses and startups with tight profit margins quite often overlook the utmost importance of protecting their most valuable asset, i.e., trademarks. Small business owners must know and understand well the following aspects:

  1. What is a trademark?
  2. Why is trademark a valuable form of Intellectual Property (IP)?
  3. What is the difference between a registered and unregistered trademark?
  4. Why is there a need to go ahead with Trademark Registration?

What exactly is a Trademark?

A trademark refers to any word, phrase, symbol, logo, or their combination that enables the customers in the market to know about the source of a product or service. A trademark is a company, product, or brand name. For instance, Coca Cola is a widely known trademark for cola products.

Trademarks are different from a patent and copyright, which are the other exclusive forms of IP.  When it comes to copyright, it prevents the artistic and creative works, like music recordings, novels, etc. from being used, copied, stolen, or distributed without the permission of the owner.  A patent protects the novel, useful, and non-obvious inventions, like a hybrid engine, a new microprocessor, etc. from being used by the competitors.

There are undoubtedly many good reasons explaining why every small business needs to have a registered trademark; let’s have a look at them:

  1. Official Trademark Registration

Keeping aside the size and type of your business, you need to make sure that you have a registered trademark in place for your small business, which shall help you significantly in preventing and facing critical issues in the future. It is a matter of fact that yes – trademark litigation lawsuits are both complicated and expensive, which can further deplete resources, effort, and time. Hence, if you are not willing to go through the hassle and stress down the road, you need to start considering the scope of getting a registered trademark for your small business.

  1. Brand Identity Protection

If you wish to protect your brand identity, you must own a trademark for your small business as you can then use the same on any concept or packaging solely or exclusively that you create for your brand. Following are a few points explaining the benefits of having a registered trademark for brand identity protection:

  • A trademark helps a business in gaining instant brand recognition.
  • A trademark becomes the core foundation and image of a business.
  • A trademark offers a massive degree of protection against reputation-damaging copycats.
  • A trademark stops the arch-competitors from making unauthorized use of a brand’s identity.
  1. Trademark Designation

The registered trademark designation helps in notifying the other businesses out there about the Trademark Rights associated with a small business’ brand name, logo, or symbol. If you own a small business and have a registered trademark for the same, it implies that your competitors can’t steal your brand identity, which is a result of your sheer hard work and brand building. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Understanding the Crucial Role of Intellectual Property in E-Commerce

In E-Commerce, Intellectual Property (IP), is indeed the most neglected yet the highest value bearing component. The real reason behind the same lies in the fact that the crucial role of IP in E-Commerce is either less understood or not apparent.

The Intellectual Property Laws and practices protect the unique works and creations of the owners from unauthorized use and unfair competition. Therefore, it would be wise enough to admit the fact that IP is an asset with worth way more than the tangible assets. Without adequate IP laws and practices, hard work can easily be stolen and spread around the world, that too, without paying the creator for his or her effort and labor. When it comes to E-Commerce, technical security measures are necessary to deter the less proficient thieves, and strict IP laws are necessary to handle the crimes, which may include cases of Intellectual Property Infringement.

The two primary concerns that should be there in your mind if your business operates in the E-Commerce industry are as follows:

  1. Protecting your IP Assets

A pretty common mistake is disclosing your unique creations and innovations before completing the entire registration process (be it Trademark Registration, Patent Registration, and so on) to obtain protection for them. Hence, it is always highly advisable to consult a legal advisor or get in touch with an Intellectual Property Law Firm before disclosing anything corresponding to your unique assets.

  1. Not Infringing Upon Someone Else’s IP Assets

Your E-Commerce platform must be having a lot of product images and descriptions. In this scenario, you must own all the legal rights corresponding to publishing those images and descriptions. The videos, logos, icons, sound effects, clip art, and background music undoubtedly make your E-Commerce platform way more engaging and visually attractive; however, once again, you must have all the concerned legal rights for using them well in place.

Many people across the globe believe that every single thing available on the internet is free for use. Most of them usually get away with such IP violations as well, which, in turn, makes us believe that we can do the same too.  The truth of the situation is that when you run a small business, you might be able to fly under the radar; however, as and when your business grows, your IP violations shall become more visible. Therefore, every individual must take all the IP related issues seriously. All the E-Commerce platform owners must ensure that the content present on their website is in the public domain and covered under fair use. The owners must also have all the required permissions with them.

IP isn’t Limited to the Content Available on the E-Commerce Platform

There may be a few cases where you might think that the fake products on your platform are the headache of the supplier. However, as a retailer, even you can fall into trouble if you fail to take all the adequate measures. You must ensure that the supplier is authorized to supply in the first place, and your platform sells branded and authentic products at all times.

Performing IP Audits and Documenting Legal Agreements

E-commerce platform owners and managers must perform regular audits of all their IP assets and maintain an intellectual property portfolio consisting of website designs, descriptions of unique products, images, videos, artwork, and new processes developed for all the services, to name a few. They should also document all the non-disclosure agreements and other contracts to ensure the utmost protection of their unique works and creations. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Philippines Marks Higher Score in International Intellectual Property Index

With the implementation of new anti-counterfeiting and piracy measures, the Philippines has improved its score by around 4 percent in the United States Chamber of Commerce’s (USCC) 2020 International Intellectual Property Index.

Ranking 37th out of total 53 economies, the Philippines scored 39.94% in 2020 index in comparison to its 36% score in 2019. Reports showed that the key strength of the Philippines is in the IP framework that includes:

  • Amendments to the IP code to strengthen criminal sanctions
  • The fast-tracking procedure for Trademark Registration
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) given in legislation
  • Incentives for research and development (R&D)
  • Growing specialization
  • Capacity Building.

On the other side, gaps in life sciences and content-related IPRs, online and software piracy, and barriers for licensing technology are reported as some of the weaknesses of the Philippines.

Abbreviated as IPOPHL, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines said that considering three additional economies in the index, Philippine standing reached 70% to the top, from 74% in the previous year.

IPOPHL officer-in-charge, Director General Teodoro Pascua, said that they welcome the verdicts of USCC-GIPC (Global Innovation Policy Center). They are happy and thankful for its positive and careful observation of the progress of their nation’s IPRs environment, especially on enforcement entrenched in IPOPHL’s effort to protect creativity and innovation.

Considering the Philippine Online Infringing Act, the USCC-GIPC is expecting that the Philippines would score higher in the 2021’s report. Under this Act, IPOPHL will be allowed to order the cancellation of an internet service provider’s operating license if it fails to remove the infringing content within ten days of notification.

IPOPHL added that these kinds of positive steps would lead to an increase in scores on relevant indicators, which will then make the index to monitor the developments in 2020 and upcoming years.

Mr. Pascua then added that 2020 would be an interesting year for IPRs Enforcement Office (IEO) and IPOPHL’s enforcement team who will be ironing out enforcement suggestions and guidelines to keep up with modern business models. He also said that IEO had identified some critical players in the supply chain of false trade with whom they believe they should engage. They desire to motivate them to set up their mechanisms to prevent counterfeiters, including those who are contributing to counterfeit trade by utilizing their channels for criminal operations, Pascua ended.  For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Google Files Trademark Application for Pigweed – A new Operating System

Over the years, Google has been developing its fair share of operating systems, including Android, Chrome OS, and Fuchsia. And now, according to a new Trademark Application filed by Google, it appears that the search giant may be working on increasing the share by adding another operating system (OS) codenamed Pigweed.

Although the search giant has filed the trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the Pigweed OS recently, this isn’t the first time when the world heard of Pigweed with Google.

Pigweed was first found in a code from Google while developing Fuchsia OS. It happened due to a code change for Fuchsia, where the developers mentioned ‘pigweed,’ but that was changed to ‘Fuchsia.’ From this, it can be estimated that Google’s Pigweed and Fuchsia are possibly related. However, as nothing much has been revealed about Pigweed, the two operating systems could be different as well.

Pigweed’s appearance was also spotted in the Google Chromium code repository, where ‘pigweed’ was mentioned in a code associated with ‘Monorail,’ an issue tracker used by the search giant for Chrome and other projects.

These are the two known incidents showing the appearance of Google’s Pigweed in the past. Nevertheless, as per the latest trademark application, Pigweed is a ‘computer operating system.’ For now, this’s what the world knows about Google’s Pigweed. In other words, there isn’t anything else other than this information regarding Pigweed for now. Moreover, there’s no word on ‘will Google make Pigweed official.’ It is also not clear if Pigweed would be a new OS for smartphones in addition to computers. Hence, until Google decides to reveal more regarding Pigweed, no one can figure out what purpose the OS will actually serve.

Another big question is, ‘when can the public expect Google to take the wraps off of Pigweed?’ Well, there’s no easy way to guess the answer to this question also. For instance, the term ‘Android’ was trademarked just five days prior to the OS was first exposed in 2007. Conversely, the name ‘Chromebook’ wasn’t trademarked for months even after the first Chromebook began shipping in 2011. Furthermore, the word ‘Fuchsia’ has been trademarked for around two years now without being officially unveiled. Fuchsia OS, on which the search giant has been working for over twenty-four months now, is expected to replace Android, the most famous and widely used OS for smartphones. Although Google hasn’t confirmed if Fuchsia would be the next Android or Chrome OS, it already started testing Fuchsia OS on smartphones. Nonetheless, the search giant is expected to provide more concrete information with respect to Fuchsia OS and the new Pigweed OS altogether later this year. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Cypriot Cheese Producers Re-secure Trademark Protection for ‘Halloumi’

Cypriot farmers have recently won back the exclusive right to sell their cheese products as ‘Halloumi’ in the UK after re-securing the trademark it lost in 2018.

Participating on the part of these farmers, the Cypriot ministry first obtained Trademark Protection for ‘Halloumi’ from the UK Intellectual Property Office in 1990. However, in association with a legal challenge brought by the UK-based cheese producers, the trademark had been revoked in the year 2018. The verdict was a result of an administrative error as the Cypriot ministry failed to respond to the legal requests within the asked time frame. Nevertheless, now the ministry has secured the protection again.

According to a Patent and Trademark Attorney, this significant win for the Cypriot farmers means that they have regained an exclusive right to use the mark ‘Halloumi’ while selling their cheese product in the UK. Because of the growing market for this product in the UK, this is expected to prove profitable for them. However, the farmers are unlikely to limit themselves there. They have already filed a Trademark Application for achieving ‘protected food name’ status to the European Commission, and if successful, their application would bring permanent protection. But as it’s likely to take some time, trademark protection in the UK will be beneficial to them in the meantime.

The attorney said that the food and drink producers in the UK might not be aware that they are allowed to apply for ‘protected food name’ status to secure protection for products with unique characteristics that can be linked to a specific geographical location or specified product. The attorney continued that this Trademark Registration certification would affect those who are producing cheese products. It is so because they could not label the product as ‘Halloumi’ unless it meets the certification mark requirements. Hence, restaurants should take care of not to define something as ‘Halloumi’ wrongly.

The attorney further added that if there’s no food name protection in place, and the misuse isn’t spotted as soon as possible, the use of the name or product could become generic. As a consequence, it would lose its eligibility for protected status. For example – ‘Cheddar’ is a name that has now become generic, and thus, no longer capable of obtaining such protection.

The Protected Food Name scheme, which was established by the UK government in 1993, is helpful for producers who want to use a geographical place name as part of their product’s brand identity for preventing others from marketing their items under the same name.

Since a large number of products have achieved the ‘protected food name’ status, there is no reason why Halloumi producers should not look for the same. Still, the application by these producers has been affected by many delays. Nonetheless, now it has gained the approval, meaning that the producers have re-secured ‘Halloumi’ trademark protection in the UK. ✅ For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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Greta Thunberg Files Trademark Application to Register Her Name and Movement

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has recently revealed that she has filed a Trademark Application to register her name and that of the international school strike movement.

In an Instagram post, the 17-year-old Swede, i.e., Thunberg wrote that she and the other school strikers (her fellow activists) have absolutely no interest in trademarks, but unfortunately, it needs to be done. She said that applying for trademarks is an action she is taking to protect the misuse of her name and that of the movement, which has gone global and catapulted her to international fame. ‘Fridays for Future’ is a global movement founded by her and belongs to everyone taking part in it beyond all the young people. Hence, it can and must not be used for individual or commercial purposes.

She added that the Trademark Protection is essentially needed as her name and the movement’s one are continually being used for commercial purposes without any consent whatsoever. For instance, people, while marketing or selling products, often collect money in her and the movement’s name.

Registering trademarks is also needed to receive assistance in taking legal action against people or companies attempting to use her and the name of ‘Fridays for Future’ movement for purposes, which aren’t in line with the movement’s values, she added.

According to the social media post by the famous activist, the recently filed application covers appeal for Trademark Registration of her name, the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement’s name, and ‘Skolstrejk för klimate’ (which means “School strike for the climate” in Swedish), the slogan on a sign or placard that she held during her weekly solo climate protests outside the parliament of Sweden in 2018, which inspired similar protests by other activists or young people.

Greta Thunberg, who actively took center stage at the Global Economic Forum in Davos this month, and her fellow young activists or strikers in the movement want the politicians to listen to climate scientists. Besides, they want politicians to take appropriate action to curb global warming.

The applicant also said that she, along with her family members, is setting up a non-profit foundation for handling money from things such as book royalties, donations, and prizes. At last, she said that the foundation would aim to promote climatic, social, and ecological sustainability, and also mental health. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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8 Significant Trademark Terms You Must Know

In the present era of rapid advancements and cut-throat competition, the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) is exponentially increasing. Besides significance, thefts and unauthorized uses of IPs are also multiplying, thus making the owners think about the protection of their valuable IP. Amongst the several ways in which one can safeguard his/ her IP assets, trademark registration appears to be the easiest one when it comes to the protection of the businesses’ unique brand names, logos, or slogans. Apart from preventing the use of one’s hard work without his/ her permission, the trademark serves him/ her business with remarkable goodwill and reputation. And this is what makes it the foremost choice of many entrepreneurs and companies worldwide.

Trademark is assuredly emerging as one of the excellent kind of IP and interests more and more businesses, you still need to comprehend some frequently used terms while planning obtaining protection for your mark. In this article, we will explain a few important trademark terms in simple and understandable language.

  1. Trademark

 It can be anything like a sign, symbol, name, sound, or word that distinguishes its proprietor’s products or services from that of others.

  1. Class

A trademark class represents a distinct group of goods and services. As per the NICE Classification, which is an international classification system followed by most registries, the class of goods and services to which the trademark pertains must be specified in the application. There are many trademark classes, and each class holds various goods or services, which are not always obvious from the class name. Under NICE Classification, goods and services are divided into 45 classes, out of which 1-34 define goods while 34-45 include services.

  1. Priority Claim

Priority claim refers to a right given by the majority of countries worldwide to the applicant of a trademark that has been filed for the very first time. Under this, the applicant applying for registration of a mark for the first time is granted the right to claim priority while filing applications to register the same mark in other countries within six months from the date of the first filing. If priority is claimed, the second application would be considered as having been filed on the same date of the first filing. As a consequence, the applicant will enjoy prior rights against applications filed by other parties from the date of filing in the first nation.

  1. Infringement

Trademark Infringement is an issue, which occurs when a mark that’s identical or confusingly similar to another company’s trademark is used without the owner’s permission.

  1. Trademark Journal

 It is where the mark is published if the application hasn’t been refused by the duty officer during the trademark registration process. In this way, the Trademark Law provides the public with a legal opportunity to file an opposition against the registration of the associated mark. Note that the opposition should be filed within a limited period before Trademark Protection is granted.

  1. License

It is an agreement amid a trademark owner (licensor) and another party (licensee), where the licensor allows the licensee to make specific and limited use of his/ her trademark. These licenses are often subject to royalty payments.  

  1. Symbols ® and ™

The symbols ® and ™ represent that the term on which these are put is someone’s trademark. ® means that the trademark is registered with the associated registry, and this symbol cannot be used before the Trademark Registration Process is completed. However, ™ can be used if the company is using its mark as a trademark even though it hasn’t yet applied for their mark.

  1. Distinctiveness and descriptiveness

As the prime purpose of a trademark is to identify its origin, it must be distinctive to the consumers to be accepted by the registry. In general, arbitrary trademarks like Blackberry and fanciful trademarks like Nike are considered as the most distinctive ones. Along with being distinctive, your trademark should be descriptive, i.e., it describes some characteristics like the quality, quantity, value, origin, or intended purpose of the goods or services. Descriptive trademarks cannot be secured as a trademark unless their extensive usage enables them to have acquired distinctiveness.

The above information will hopefully prove beneficial for you, no matter whether you want to register your trademark or provide your Registered Trademark as a license to any third party. In other words, the data will help you in protecting as well as monetizing your trademark. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com

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