A registered trademark is your organisations' invaluable asset, they are your image, brand and are likely to help you bring in profit to your organisation and it is apparent that they need protection from infringement.
People are always on the prowl to steal the well-built reputation of an organisation or company as registered trademark provides protection to the goodwill of the business and to protect the consumers from deception.
Hence, most legal systems have a well-developed system through which they can protect the mark of a company or an organisation from imitation. Under Indian law, trademark receives protection through both statutory law and common law principle.
Before a trademark can be filed, it is always recommended to conduct due diligence on the name, logo or combination of both. The trademark office will reject a mark that is likely to cause confusion among the consumers.
The trademark applicant is recommended to conduct a comprehensive trademark search on the mark which will draw a clear picture for your trademark. The search report can then demonstrate and provide evidence whether the mark will be registered or not.
For conducting a trademark search, you should enlist the help of trademark professional or you could simply use Quickcompany trademark search tool.
As per trademark expert, the legal status of your trademark must be one that is strong. your trademark can attain the strongest level by registering a word that is arbitrary and fanciful. Arbitrary words are those words that are not connected to the services or the product in any way.
For instance, Apple for a computer system and Blackberry for telecommunication devices.
A trademark right may originate from common law or through trademark registration but both the trademark rights can only be enforced if the trademark owner is able to show the use of the trademark.
The trademark rules have listed that the trademark that is not used over a period of time the trademark will be considered abandoned and will be available for others to use as a mark.
Trademark owner must be aware of the registration date as the owner will have to pay trademark renewal fees after 10 years from the date of registration.
It is always recommended to consistently monitor other companies and their use of phrases and mark on their product. Normally you conduct trademark watch yourself while you visit the marketplace or use similar product online but that is not enough every time hence, the trademark owner is recommended to enlist the help of trademark service provider to help them watch over any possible trademark infringement.
Many new business owners or entrepreneurs dream that their product to be present in every household and or subconsciously on everyone's mind but there is a possibility in this scenario of the trademark becoming generic.
Read: When does a trademark becomes generic?
If the mark for your product become generic the trademark owner might lose the ownership and the mark and the trademark would fall into the public domain which makes it impossible for anyone to associate the mark to their product.
Genericide happens when the consumer identifies the product but not the origin of the product. This was the fate of brands like Heroin which was owned by Bayer Ag and Escalator by Charles Seeberger of Otis Elevator Co. Both the owners of the trademark have now been stripped of the ownership and following brands are struggling to hold on to theirs.
Xerox is one such company that is holding on to its trademark right by running marketing campaigns.
The practice involves the use of competitors trademark in a commercial advertisement. This practice is not prohibited in trademark law but the permission to do so is with a certain limitation :
- Such as the company cannot use the mark in unfair practices and;
- The commercial should not be detrimental to the value of competitors trademark.
For Instance: Coca-cola and Pepsi commercial aired on the television recently.
The basic assumption in a competitive economy is that the consumer benefits by being able to choose among the wide variety and the quality of the goods and services.
For Consumer Protection, the law becomes an effective weapon against counterfeit goods, which is considerably strengthened by statutory sanctions imposed against the fraudulent applications of trademarks.
Following function of trademark make it important to obtain trademark protection:
Marks merit protection so that they can function as indicators of the geographical source of the product or are in some other way connected.
Marks merit protection because they signify quality associated by consumers to the product and guarantee that the goods or services measure up to their expectation.
Marks are logos or words around which the organisation promotes the product. This builds the investment value, therefore the mark deserves protection even when there is no abuse arising from the misrepresentation about the origin or quality of the product.