What is Trade Marking?
A trademark, basically, is a name, word, logo, or other symbol that represents your company. Many companies spend a lot of money and time developing an appropriate trademark for their company. This trademark is identified with that particular company and is an integral part of the corporate brand. These companies therefore want to protect its integrity while also establishing the symbol as undeniably theirs. Companies can do this through a process known as trade marking.
Many people don’t regard trade marking as necessary, but once a trademark is registered it automatically belongs to you.
What’s in it for You?
There are many good reasons to register your trademark. First, it gives you priority over the trademark. If you don’t register a trademark, you are only entitled to use it in your area and industry. If someone in a nearby area or in a similar but distinct industry decides to use a similar trademark, or even the exact same one, you may not be able to stop them. This can affect your business, diminish your branding, and cause a lot of uncomfortable confusion.
Another good reason to register a trademark: the right to sue when your trademark is inappropriately used, as well as the right to recover money from these trademark infringement lawsuits. Simply having a registered trademark can win the case for you, because a trademark is government confirmation of your right to that symbol, name, or phrasing and can protect you from trademark infringement.
The Trade Marking Process: How Long Will This Take?
The amount of time it takes to get through the trade marking process varies from case to case. However, you will receive a receipt approximately six months after filing. This receipt will have a serial number that you can use to track your application. While the average time from filing for a trademark to receiving that trademark is around 4-6 months, but it can be as short as a few months to as long as several years.
Is registering a trademark a long and complicated process? As you can see, it definitely takes multiple steps and a little persistence to get through the trade marking process. However, this expenditure of time and money is more than worth it. Registering a trademark ensures that your name will always belong to you and that you will have ultimate control over who uses it, and how.
Trademark Registration in Singapore
Marks that can be registered
A trade mark can be letters, words, names, signatures, numerals, devices, brands, labels, tickets, shapes, colors, aspects of packaging or any combination of these. For a trade mark to be registered, it must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing the goods and/or services of the owner from similar goods and/or services of other traders.
Marks that cannot be registered
The following are examples of the marks that cannot be registered under the trade mark law in Singapore:
- Descriptive Marks
Marks which describe the goods and services of the business. For instance, marks that describe the quality (‘Super’ or ‘Best’), quantity (‘One dozen’), value (‘Cheap’), intended purpose (‘Cleaner’), or geographical origin.
- Marks ‘Common to the Trade’
Marks which are signs or indications which have become customary in the trade. Some marks have become so well accepted that the term is used to describe the type of the goods or services in general, and no longer serves to distinguish the products offered. Marks Contrary to Public Policy or Morality Marks which are generally contrary to public policy or morality. For example, a mark that could promote immoral behavior cannot be registered.
- Deceptive Marks
Marks that attempt to deceive the public. For example, marks that misrepresent the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services.
- Marks that are Identical to Earlier Marks
A trade mark will not be registered if it is identical with an earlier mark and the goods or services for which the trade mark is sought to be registered are identical with the goods or services for which the earlier mark is protected.
- Marks that could Cause Confusion
A trade mark may not be registered if it is likely to cause the public to be confused under these circumstances:
- It is identical with an earlier trade mark and is to be registered for goods or services similar to those for which the earlier mark is protected;
- It is similar to an earlier trade mark and is to be registered for goods or services identical with those for which the earlier mark is protected; or
- It is similar to an earlier trade mark and is to be registered for goods or services similar to those for which the earlier trade mark is protected.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore ( IPOS) provides public access to its records of trade mark applications and trade marks registered in Singapore Trademarks can be registered with manually or online and it can be registered locally in Singapore as well as in other countries. Cost of registering a trademark depends on the number of countries you wish to register it in .It is cheaper to register just in Singapore but the price is higher if it involves other countries .For registration in other countries IPOS charges in Swiss Francs according to the country in question.
Classification of Goods and Services
The scope of a trade mark registration is determined by the goods or services in relation to which the trade mark is registered. For the purpose of trade mark registration, Singapore uses the International Classification of Goods and Services according to the Nice Agreement to classify trade mark registrations.
The Nice Agreement is an international agreement on classification of goods and services of which Singapore is a party. This classification sets out the list of goods and services There are a total of 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services.
The Nice Classification is used in more than 140 countries worldwide and in international applications for the registration of marks under the Madrid Agreement and Protocol.