We may think that applying for intellectual property (IP) ownership rights are somewhat new a conduct in business and trade. Interestingly, it is not. Even the Romans stamped bricks to show their sign of ownership. Trademark law is quite ancient dating back to the year 1266 in England. The old law known as the “bakers marking law” used to indicate the maker of a loaf of bread. Each baker would have their own registered mark.
Trademark law is now well established internationally. Almost every single established company now has their own mark that uniquely defines their brand. Most people think that you have to legally register a mark to be able to utilise it, but the opposite holds. You register a mark so that others cannot use it! When you register a trademark you gain the unique right to be the only one to use the mark or to control who can use it.
A trademark is a particular mark that allows clients to distinguish you without seeing your product or service. It is a unique part of your brand. Trials have shown that you can display just part of a famous trademark and people know which brand it belongs to. This indicates the power of a good image and how the brain works at remembering such things. This is why it is key to legally protect important marks and words.
In most countries if you create something yourself you have the sole rights to use this. However if an idea is used by many people it very quickly becomes common property and cannot be registered. It is always best to legally register marks and ideas. Registration legally determines the date of ownership beyond any sense of doubt. In some countries common law gives some protection but at the end of the day you have more security if you engage trademark lawyers to protect key IP.
These days you can self-register a trademark but there are underlying dangers of taking this route alone. Trademarks attorneys know how to register and how to protect ownership and pre-empt possible misuse of your IP rights. These lawyers know the gamut of registration and protection. If you self-register you may get a cheap registration cost, but run the risk of possibly having left a loop-hole for someone to use and reverse your registration later on.
Registration of trademarks can be done in one or more countries. Presently there is no such thing as a international trademark. You have to register in all the countries where you need protection.
Registration has become easier over the recent years with the introduction of systems like the Madrid System of International Registration of Marks through the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland but global registration is still a boring and fairly pricy process.
The benefits of registering a trademark outweigh the costs and challenges. If you are serious on your protecting your company, you should be looking at IP registration today.