Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trade Mark Registration: Why it is Important?

Today Brands define a man's status. People go for those brands which promise them not only good quality goods but also good status. When a man enters a room, the reasons present there judge him based on the suit he is wearing- “is it Raymond?”- The brand of his watch- “wow its RADO” - the mobile phone he is using. Brands produced a new consumer culture, where the quality and credibility of goods and services where no longer judged by the traditional way, that is by really using it but by looking at the brand name. Brands project the personality of its source, if we put it in another way brands helps the consumers in identifying the source of the product. It is precisely for this purpose brands, or if we rather use the technical term, trademarks have been created.

This concept originated in the Middle Ages when craftsmen and merchants wanted to differentiate their products or services from those offered by competitors. Thus trademark simply means identity card of a company. This very reason makes trademark the most powerful Intellectual property concept. It cost company a lot of time, money and resources to build a credible trademark in the market. Trademark may be names, like well known mobile phone brand 'NOKIA' or famous service provider 'idea' with an inverted 'i' , it may be symbols, for example 'the apple' symbol of APPLE co.. Whatever form it may have it is the most powerful communication tool a company has to communicate with its consumers. A study conducted at Columbia University found that for consumer products and services, well-managed brands typically represent 50 to 80 percentage of the entire value of their companies. For business to business products and services, the percentages were lower but still significant - 20 to 30 percentage. Thus now we are in agreement to the fact that trademark is very important for a company. This importance of trademark makes it very vulnerable too, because there is a chance of others abusing your trademark, for their profit, by playing with your credibility and reputation. Nobody wants all of his/her efforts to go in vein and again if a trademark is to be protected in all the way the law can it is important to get it registered under proper authority. If you are not willing to protect your trademark there is no need for building one. Precisely because otherwise you won't be able to enjoy any of the following rights, which you will lose only because you didn't get it registered and trademark registration becomes important due to following reasons:

  • Without registration, a latecomer may register a mark identical or similar to the company's mark, which may prevent the unregistered trademark owner to expand his business to other areas with the same trade mark or may block his attempt to register the trademark later. If you cannot stop your competitor from using a trade mark which is the same as or similar to yours, then your competitor may “get a free ride” on your reputation. In many cases, a reputation is the result of having high quality goods or services, providing superior service, or an effective marketing strategy. These usually involve a significant investment in money, time, and know-how.
  • Trademark registration gives the trademark holder to file cases against trade mark violations or abuse of trademark like unfair comparative advertisement.
  • Trademark registration establishes the presumptive right of the trademark owner to use the trademark throughout the country.
  • For those companies that wish to expand internationally, the date of registration may be used as the priority date in other countries, if they are a member of an international treaty, such as the Paris Convention.
  • Discourages others from using confusingly similar marks in the first place by making the mark easy to find in a trademark availability search, thereby preventing problems before they even begin.
  • Protects against registration of confusingly similar marks.
  • Entitles you to certain statutory damages in case of infringement of your trademark related rights.

By registering it becomes part of your valuable asset, and you can sell it, lease it, mortgage it, and transfer it.

By Aruna A.