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    Added on 09 February

    All About Trademarks: What You Need to Know in 2022

    09 February

    We live in a world where information is just a few clicks or search terms away from you. While some people have a grasp of intellectual property and why it cannot be used without adequate permission, other people are oblivious to the concept. If you’re a creator, a business owner or anyone else who might have created something unique, it’s time to protect yourself against theft or any other kind of infringement. Learning all about trademarks is a way for business owners or anyone else to understand the importance of protecting their intellectual property.


    Why should you even consider registering for a trademark?


    If you’re unsure whether you should even spend your valuable time on trademarking process, the answer is simple and straightforward. Yes, you should and you must. If your product, service, company label is unique, well-recognised and anyone using it for their benefit can have financial gain, you have to register your trademark.


    When you take all the right steps to ensure you are eligible for a trademark, you will be given legal protection against those trying to take advantage of your intellectual property.


    Definition of a trademark, in a nutshell


    We’ve probably convinced you to think about the future of your business and having your intellectual property protected. But, you might be wondering what exactly is a trademark. To put it simply, by definition, a trademark is something unique that specifies your business like a logo, a name, sound, phrase or symbol and makes it distinctive from your competition. Whenever we hear Coca Cola, we probably won’t think of a can of soda that isn’t red. We already associate the colour red, white logo and a soda with the name Coca Cola. Coca Cola is a trademark and anyone who tries to use the name for their benefit, without their consent is eligible for trademark infringement.


    Thus a trademark protects you legally against those trying to use it for their gain and benefit. You have the legal right to sue anyone who uses distinctive and trademarked components of your business and demand compensation or other sorts of damages.


    How to get started with the trademark process:


    1 Learn what can be trademarked


    There’s a list of things that can be trademarked and a list of things that cannot. You can trademark a logo, a name, brand name, product name. Unique sounds and slogans like Just do it, distinctive colour combinations and even smells. Anything that is already trademarked, too broad or general, common phrases and religious quotes are not eligible for a trademark process.


    2 Do a trademark search


    Once you identify that your intellectual property can be trademarked, it’s advised to do a trademark search. This step should be completed even before you set up your business, build it for a while, invest your time and effort. It’s always best to do your research first to check if the name you want for your business is free. You can team up with IP lawyers at this stage to get professional assistance and all the right pieces of advice if the name you want is already taken. Even if the name you want for your business is free, you can only benefit from having a legal advisor by your side. They can help you search the trademark register base to make sure no one has registered the asset you want to register.


    3 Define your class


    Next, you have to define the class of your trademark. There are 45 classes of trademarks and you need to identify the right one. If you file your trademark registration under the wrong class or inappropriate one, there’s a chance your application won’t be approved. If you have trouble defining the right class, it’s best to consult your ip lawyer on this matter.


    4 Sumit your application


    Once you determine your trademark is eligible for registration, specify its class, category and compile all the relevant documentation, you can move to the next step. The next step is to submit your application to the patent and trademark office in your country. If you’re applying for a patent in the USA, you will go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. In Australia, you will proceed with the registration with IP Australia and so on. Each part of the world has its patent and trademark office.


    5 Monitor application status


    Once you submit your trademark application to the patent and trademark office in your country, you’ll have to wait for the result. Approval and registration aren't instant, so you’ll have to wait. In the meantime, you can check your application status and monitor it. If you team up with a legal professional, they will check this on your behalf and update you on its status. If the application meets their criteria, you will get a letter of approval. If for some reason, you don’t get approved, you will receive a letter of denial. The process usually takes between three to six months.


    6 Trademark registration approved


    When you finally receive confirmation that your trademark has been approved, it’s up to you to enforce your trademark. You’re free to use one of the symbols that mean that your name or a product is trademarked. Also, we advise you to monitor your trademark and use a service that makes it easier for you to track those making an infringement. If you believe that someone is acting without your consent and using your trademark, send out a cease and desist warning letter. This letter serves to inform the other party of their wrongful acts and it warns them of your next steps. Not only that, but you'll have to pay attention and make sure you don't miss your chance to renew it. Every trademark has a ten-year lifespan, after which it may expire. You'll need to pay the renewal charge to keep it active for another ten years.


    In 2022, protecting your intellectual property is just as important as it was in the past. It protects you, your trademarked name, brand, product, or service from infringement. We recommend that you carefully consider this and register for trademark registration to ensure that your intellectual property is safe and secure.


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