How to Protect Your Brand: Trademark Registration
The product or service offered on the market should stand out from others. Therefore, the brand is an integral part of commercial success. And when the products on the shelves of the store are already “labeled” and services are offered under a colorful logo, the question arises of how to protect potential Customers from counterfeiting, and make the brand profitable.
There are several ways to protect the brand. It is these methods and ways of brand protection that we will talk about in this publication.
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Method 1: Trademark Registration
The legislation does not limit entrepreneurs and marketing specialists in the choice of means to attract Customers, establishing that the trademark may be words and phrases, a set of symbols, pictures and just colors, music and smells, video and so on, provided that:
- They are not associated by the Client with the goods and services of other persons;
- They have minimal distinctions;
- They meet formal criteria (they do not promote national socialist and communist regimes, do not contain names of states, well-known organisations, their emblems and coats of arms, etc.).
Please note! When selecting a logo, it is necessary to check whether there are no registered or filed similar marks through a search in the open databases of Ukrpatent and WIPO. In this case, the absence of detected similar marks is not a guarantee of trademark registration, as the marks are assessed on the basis of how much a potential Customer can accept the trademark of one manufacturer as the mark of another, but with some changes.
The owners of the trademark may be individuals, including individual entrepreneurs, and legal entities. The legislation does not limit the number of trademarks that may be owned by one person. But when making a decision on registration of a mark, it should be taken into account that failure to use the mark within 5 years may serve as a ground for termination of the certificate.
Trademark registration ensures, at the bare minimum, the following possibilities:
- protection against counterfeit products by entering information into the customs register;
- obtaining a .UA domain;
- opportunity to appeal against brand infringements;
- possibility to transfer the trademark for use to other persons on “your” terms (including through a “franchise”).
If you decide to register a TM, you should follow this procedure:
Step 1. Filing an application with Ukrpatent:
- Fill in a special “form” (you can find it on the website of the Ministry of Economy), which shall specify the logo, description of the logo, list of goods and services for which the mark is submitted for registration, contact details of the applicant);
- Pay the application fee (its amount depends on the number of classes of goods and services, for which the application is filed).
Step 2. Formal trademark examination, which includes examination of submitted documents and their content for compliance with legal requirements.
Step 3. Examination is, in fact, the most important stage at which a decision on the trademark registration is made. A refusal to register may be appealed to the Court of Appeal or the Court of Justice.
Step 4. Receiving a certificate of trademark registration.
If the expert does not see any problems with the logo, and the decision to register the mark has been made, the applicant pays fees for registration and receives a certificate that certifies the right of ownership to the mark.
The period of trademark registration is about 1.5 - 2 years, which can be reduced to about 8-9 months, but the cost of such service may be several times higher than the cost of the trademark registration itself.
The validity period of the certificate is 10 years from the date of application submission, which can be extended an unlimited number of times.
Related video: TM Registration Procedure
Other ways to protect your brand
In case of refusal to register a trademark or in case of other circumstances, you can choose other methods of brand protection, in particular:
- Repeat an attempt to register a trademark when making changes to such mark;
- Patent an industrial design;
- Use a word mark as a trade name.
The choice of ways to protect a brand depends on the goals set by the entrepreneur and the type of object to be protected, so this issue should be considered at the stage of planning brand development.
If you need assistance in registering your trademark quickly and easily, don’t hesitate to call us. We can also help with other ways to protect your brand.