Trademark 101: Introduction to Trademark

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a type of intellectual property (IP) assets, it is simply a word, symbol, design or any combinations that represent your company’s name, products and/or services.  There are a wide range of trademarks, as the owner, you are able to design your own trademark. Examples of commonly seen trademarks are shown below.

Should I register my trademark?

Short answer, YES! It is a good idea to register your mark, by registering you will be able to claim legal ownership and exercise your exclusive rights over your mark. Notwithstanding, there are also numerous advantages once you registered your mark, few examples are discussed below.

I). Brand Protection/Development

Let’s face it, it is not easy building your own brand, let alone protecting it. Your brand is essentially the core asset of your business, registration will help prevents others from unlawfully copying/using your trademark. Moreover, registration will also provide safe space for brand expansion, as well as, bolstering consumers/investors’ confidence over your brand.

II). Intangible Assets

Did you know that a registered mark can be sold or licensed? Generally, reputable trademarks are very attractive to potential buyers/investors. By registering your mark, it tells buyers that your mark is secured and not subject to copycats. In addition to selling your mark, you may choose to “license”, simply put, you may grant “temporary rights” to others for using your mark, and YES, you will be able to gain income via licensing, this is call “royalty fee”. There are few options to grow your business via IP assets, and licensing is one of such.

III). Global Recognition

One important fact, you need to register your trademark in specific country that you intend to sell your products or services. For example, if you would like to operate your business in the US, Thailand and China, you must register your trademark in each of these countries separately.

Trademark Related Symbols

If you pay close attention to the above two examples, you will notice the symbols: [®] and [™], we will cover the meaning of these two trademark related symbols in this section.

Both symbols represent the status of a trademark and its level of protection. The symbol “R or ®” shows that your mark is fully registered under the law. Whereas, the symbol “TM or ™” shows that you are using this mark but it is not yet registered, most used “TM” as a way of notifying others that this is their mark. With this being said, misused of these symbols can result in penalties. Thus, be mindful of your usage.  

To sum it all up

As discussed here, there are many advantages to owning a fully registered trademark. While some are still on the fence about investing in their trademark, DON’T BE! The investment you will be making is small compared to risks of not registering, trademark acts as your brand, represent your business’s reputation and provide real legal tools against infringer.

In this globalized world, intellectual property assets, such as: trademarks and patents are critical to your business. If used properly, these assets will be invaluable.

Are you interested or would like to know more about trademarks? Contact us to receive free consultation on your trademark or other intellectual property rights, our experts are ready to assist you.