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BG151 Trademarks

Taxco Business Guide

 

Statutory Registration

Objective

The objective of this business guide is to briefly explain two requirements for registering a Trademark and how Taxco can assist with the registration thereof.

Introduction

A Trademark  is quite simply an identifying mark that distinguishes one person's product (whether it's goods or services) from those of another.
These identifying characteristics will mostly be represented visually, although sounds or smells can also qualify. It can be a brand name as well as the logo or a slogan associated with it, a colour, shape of a container, a pattern or an architectural element. The name of a character in a book may also be protected by a Trademark.

Registered Trading Names of a Company/Close Corporation

If you have registered a trading name for your business, it does not follow that it is also registered as a Trademark. Registering a trading name is for the benefit of the government, whereas registering your trading name as a Trademark (a separate process), is to protect your intellectual property of that name. You cannot register a company name if it already exists as a TM belonging to someone else.

Requirements for Registering a Trademark

1. Used by Legal Owner

The first requirement for registering a mark is that you must be the legal owner of such a mark, that you are using the mark already or that you have bona fide intent to use the mark. Unlike registering a domain name without ever building a web site, a mark that is not being used, becomes abandoned and registration is cancelled. Trademark law requires proof of the use of a mark.

However, you do not have to register your mark. The fact that you are publicly using the mark establishes your ownership and rights, which are strengthened the longer and more widely the mark is used.

You can freely add the TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) symbols to show that your reserve your rights, but you can only add the ® symbol or the words Registered Trademark after registration.

2. A Trademark must be Unique

Being unique is critical. The Trademark must not be similar, derived from or an imitation of an existing mark (where there is a likelihood of confusion). The difficulty is to ascertain whether a similar mark exists. Apart from doing searches for registered marks or pending registrations, you also need to confirm that an un-registered mark is not in use.

A trademark can last forever, provided it stays in use and in the case of a registered mark, the renewal fees are paid.

Restrictions on what cannot be registered as a Trademark include:

* Anything that may indicate government approval or endorsement.
* Anything that is against the law or which may be offensive.
* State owned elements such as a coat of arms, flag or seal.
* Anything which is already widely associated with the goods or services or which is    inherently part of such goods or services.
* Anything which will limit the development of goods or services.

How can Taxco help?

Protecting your intellectual property is crucial to achieve the long term financial goals of your business. Once established, your business name can be worth a lot of money and in itself can be sold to franchisees, other business partners and associates or even new prospective buyers who wish to purchase an established brand name under which to market their products.

To safeguard this asset of yours against unlawful use by competitors and other parties it is imperative to have your mark registered and renewed periodically.

We at Taxco look forward to registering your Trademark at CIPRO and securing your intellectual property for the future.

For more details, Contact Us now to discuss how we can assist you to make an informed decision and possibly save a lot of money by avoiding the common pitfalls when starting a business.

This Guide is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use of Taxco Services and their Website.

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